Camano Island airman honors ‘Pappap’

  • Thu Apr 29th, 2010 10:24pm
  • News

Airman First Class Brennen Cornett from Camano Island sent home a poignant picture that meant a lot to his family.

He photographed a flag he flew in Iraq, to honor the memory of his grandfather.

His mother, Laurel Niven of Camano Island, says Cornett is her oldest son. He is serving in the U.S. Air Force as a firefighter.

“His forethought in asking for his grandfather’s flag was very meaningful to our entire family,” she said. “His intent was to celebrate the memory of Commander Joe Zimmerman, USN, on March 19, which would have been his 81st birthday.”

Joe Zimmerman died on April 20, 2007.

Her son wrote home:

“Today is Pappap’s birthday, he would have been 81 years old. Last night I changed out the flags at the fire department here at Ali Air Base in Iraq. I raised the flag that was flown on the submarine that placed Pappap’s ashes at sea. That flag was given to Grandma Dorothy, and she sent it to me. I am flying the flag all day for Pappap’s birthday and I took some pictures so everyone can celebrate his legacy with me.

I remember sitting at dinner with Pappap and Grandma at Jimmy’s Pizza in Stanwood. I told Pappap I wanted to join the Air Force, and boy did his face light up. I am so glad that I was able to tell him that, and I wish he could see me now. I know Uncle Ed and Mike deployed when they were in the Army and Marines, so they already know this. But when you are in a different country far from home, the American flag is sometimes our only feeling of home. Today when I looked up at that big, bright flag, I felt so much pride and respect for my Grandpa, for what he did and who he was.”

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The Stanwood-Camano Area Foundation offers a free breakfast this morning to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

“It is unusual for a community as small as ours to have a community foundation,” said Executive Director Theresa Metzger. “It is even more unusual to have a foundation that’s celebrating such a significant milestone.”

They planned to honor the families of founders Cliff Danielson, William Brokaw, Edward Jones and Cliff Fosse.

Danielson owned the local newspaper, Jones was a lawyer, Brokaw was president of the Bank of Stanwood and Fosse was founder of a Little League program and a manager for Snohomish County PUD.

“They were four good men who were very community oriented and would be proud to see how the little foundation they started has grown,” she said. “The first year they awarded scholarships, 1962, there were two recipients.”

For the last three years, the foundation awarded scholarships to every student who applied—an average of 120 students each year.

“Coincidentally, the minutes from the first-ever foundation meeting are dated April 29, 1960,” Metzger says. “Cool, eh?”

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Help “Fill the Truck” Saturday to benefit Whidbey Animals’ Improvement Foundation’s animal shelter in Coupeville.

Stop by the Goose Community Grocer at Bayview Center at 14485 Highway 525 in Langley, and buy selected items for cats and dogs.

The Goose Community Grocer features food items produced on Whidbey Island.

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The Annual Robe Valley Volunteer Fire Department Fuchsia Sale is planned for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at IGA, 115 N. Granite Ave. in Granite Falls.

They will sell hanging baskets and plants to benefit Robe Valley Volunteer Fire Department. As usual, the plants were grown by Anne Femrite in her greenhouse on the Mountain Loop Highway.

Robe Assistant Chief Pete Iversen says the department uses the money to help finance activities such as operations in the national forest, which accounts for 55 percent of their calls.

Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451, oharran@heraldnet.com.