Where is our city’s Navy Commander’s award?

Oct 05, 2017

Being a veteran, my attention was immediately drawn to the letter writing debate between Wil Nelson and Marcus Barton. In his August letter to the editor, Marcus challenged Snohomish County Councilperson Terry Ryan for possibly violating a Military of Justice rule.

Wil’s letter stated: “There is much in Mr. Barton’s letter I have no knowledge of…Well, apparently the part my fellow veteran had “no knowledge about” has to do with the portion of Barton’s letter where he challenged Terry Ryan who was “… claiming to have been awarded a “United States Friend of The Navy award.”

To give full disclosure, I have never seen this prestigious document, but I have heard a lot about it. What has come to my attention plus what I know firsthand, I now wish to share with our city leaders and the residents of our wonderful city.

During my two (or possible three) conversations with Mr. Ryan’s friend Fred Fillbrook, I was given two completely different tales on why Ryan was the one who received the Navy Commander’s certificate.

At first Fred hesitantly told me Terry received the Navy’s document for his “leadership abilities.” In reply to this unlikely reason, I can attest after months and months of planning I only saw Terry twice at our parade planning meetings and at NO time did I see him at a veteran’s monument planning session.

Terry’s “involvement” with the Veteran’s Monument movement was when he was one of the seven city councilpersons who voted for it. But this was way after I had spoken at three different council meetings in hopes of motivating the council to support my goal to have such a monument. And this was AFTER Donna Michaelson made a motion, which Ryan did not even second the motion, to have the city become directly involved in this endeavor!

I have often asked myself: Was it due to Fillbrook receiving a lot of community backlash over his above statements that motivated him to change his word usage? Because he later informed me Terry received the Navy Commander’s “Friend of The Navy award” on behalf of the city due to the fact Terry was the mayor.

This reason is easy to refute since Terry was not running the city. Our city government has our city manager as head of the city and not the mayor. So in this case it was the responsibility of our then City Manager Ken Armstrong who should have been the person, and on behalf of our city, to have accepted the Navy Commander’s symbol of gratitude!

But let us give Terry the benefit of the doubt. As he, our city’s mayor, accepted the write-up he did so not for Terry Ryan, but rather in behalf of THE CITY OF MILL CREEK! This being the case then this Navy base commander’s write-up belongs on the wall near the entrance to our city hall for all to see!

With Veteran’s Day’s on Saturday, Nov. 11 quickly approaching, it is important Mill Creek City’s veteran’s document should be show cased at the Town Center Veteran’s Parade command center. This way all active servicewomen and men, veterans, and other residents will be able to see, read and appreciate what numerous veterans have done for their brothers and sisters.

Many of us “three percenters,” the ones who dared to serve in one of our five Armed Services, are placing this quest into the hands of City Manager Rebecca Polizzotto or into the hands of her Veteran’s Recognition Advisory Group, which both Fred and I are members, and into the hands of our seven councilmembers to try and find OUR CITY’s document.

Of course, the first place to get answers would be to talk to Terry Ryan.

Now the question for our city leaders is: Will this much-needed document search be conducted?  The answer to this important question may be answered when, or if, it is displayed during our Mill Creek Veteran’s celebration day.

The question for some of us and for the protection of the Navy’s great name is: Who were the ones, which lead the Navy Commander into this now controversial event? And just maybe both Fred Fillbrook and Terry Ryan can shed some light into that process?

To help us locate this city document and if you have any information about its whereabouts or have any picture of it please send this inform to me through the editor of the Mill Creek Beacon at millcreekeditor@yourbeacon.net

Darn right, I must thank Marcus Barton for bringing this long-time hidden situation into the public foum. Marcus’ willingness to step forward is community activism at its best!

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