SNOHOMISH — Most of them wore new T-shirts on the drizzly day in late April.
The back of the shirts read: “If Not Me, Then Who … ”
The five single-syllable words are the mantra for the Travis Manion Foundation, named after a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Marine officer killed in Iraq in 2007. His family started the foundation as a part of his legacy, and it has spread across the country.
On this particular Saturday, ripples of the sentiment could be found outside the Snohomish Boys & Girls Club where nearly two dozen military veterans and other volunteers built picnic tables for children.
Capt. William Lennon, who leads the Snohomish High School Marine Corps JROTC program, is an ambassador for the foundation. The organization’s goals are to connect veterans with their communities through service, provide character education to local youth groups and to work with Gold Star families who lost loved ones.
The foundation has become partners with the Snohomish Boys & Girls Club, where it can assist with projects.
Lennon spoke with Marci Volmer, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County.
“As the weather is getting nicer, she would like to see the kids get out more,” he said.
The idea of picnic tables was raised.
Lennon asked how many the Snohomish club needed.
“In a perfect world, I would like to have four,” Volmer told him.
“And that’s what happened,” she said.
During the school year, there hasn’t been much room to sit outside to do homework and have a snack, and during the summer as many as 160 kids can be playing outdoors, she said. The tables will be well used.
Elmer Johnson, quarter master for the Gay Jones Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 921 in town, joined the work party that morning. He said he was on hand largely for moral support.
“This is what we need,” he said, watching the volunteers toil, chat and smile.
David Edgewater helped out that day. He’s a Boeing worker from Renton and did not serve in the military, but often volunteers for military-related events.
He was impressed with the turnout.
“There was plenty of manpower, which is good,” he said.
Lennon was pleased.
“I appreciate everyone coming out,” he said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.