Proceeds from breakfast to bolster coffers for revitalization of war memorial at Two Strike Park.
By Mary O’KEEFE
On March 10, the Two Strike Park Memorial committee invites the community to a pancake breakfast at Rosemont Middle School.
The breakfast is part of a series of fundraisers that will support the building of a new memorial at Two Strike Park. At present there is a small memorial wall on the southeast end of the park, which was dedicated in 1959 in memory of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. The memorial is showing signs of age and deterioration.
Veterans from American Legion Post 288 and Veterans of Foreign Wars 1614 had tried a few years ago to raise funds and awareness for a new memorial but did not get far with their attempt, in part because of the economy down turn.
Lt. Col. Dave Worley, mentor/teacher for the JROTC at Crescenta Valley High School, had known of the attempt. He was at the Arbor Day celebration in the park last year and saw representatives from the American Legion and VFW.
“I asked them how the [fundraising] was going,” he said.
He found that it was lagging. He decided to offer his support to the group and felt many in the community would also support the effort.
“The community does care and that is the biggest thing,” he said. “That is what is so great about this area.”
Worley added that he remembers the time when support for those serving in the military was not easily found.
The pancake breakfast tickets are $5. Veterans and community members will be volunteering to flip pancakes in support of the memorial effort. Over 300 tickets have already been sold and this breakfast will have a unique “cyber” twist.
Tickets are also being sold out of the area, even in other states, and those participants will be able to join in the community breakfast via Skype, a video chat software program through Microsoft.
The idea of a cyber breakfast came from veteran, and retired Rosemont Middle School history teacher, Lynn McGinnis.
“Things keep popping into my head,” McGinnis said of his idea. “I run the [ideas] by my wife, that is the best filter I have, and most of [those ideas] die there.”
But this idea seemed to work perfectly with bringing a new twist to a traditional fundraiser.
McGinnis could be called a pancake breakfast professional. He started the fundraiser years ago as a way to raise money to help pay for his annual history trip to the east coast. He traveled with students and teacher chaperones to trace the path of the most famous Civil War battles, or to Boston where kids learned about the Boston Tea Party while at Boston Harbor.
The pancake fundraiser became one of the biggest events at Rosemont Middle School with proceeds now passed to the school’s music department.
The Two Strike Park Memorial holds a special place in the hearts of both Worley and McGinnis.
“It will have the [Crescenta Valley] names of over 30 men who have died from the beginning of World War I to present,” McGinnis said. “The last name [as of now] will be Nicolas Steinbacher.”
Steinbacher was 22 years old when he was killed while serving in Iraq on Dec. 10, 2006.
McGinnis comes from a military family.
“As a kid, I remember looking in the family photo album,” he said.
Photos of his dad and uncles who served in World War II lined the album. His uncle’s parents had worked as missionaries in the Philippines and were part of the Bataan Death March. During WWII, the Imperial Japanese Army forced 76,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war to walk 80 miles to a Japanese army camp.
These images and stories made an impression on McGinnis. He too joined the military, serving in the Air Force.
The memorial is an extension of continuing to honor those who did not come back from service.
During his time as teacher at Rosemont, McGinnis began a veteran’s appreciation program on Veteran’s Day.
“The one thing that really touched me was when Warren Spayth [of the VFW] asked everyone who had someone in their family who had served in the military at one time to stand and about two thirds of the students stood up,” McGinnis said.
The breakfast is on March 10 from 8 a.m. to 11a.m. at Rosemont Middle School, 4725 Rosemont Ave. Tickets are being sold by at CVHS by JROTC, Prom Plus Club and Key Club members and at Rosemont Middle School by Builder’s Club members. They are also available at the door.