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Lone Sailor on its way to town

Fund-raising efforts continue.

April showers appear to be bring more than May flowers to Bremerton as efforts to bring the Lone Sailor statue to Bremerton can be seen across the city.

Recently, supporters enlisted the help of Kitsap Transit, which now has at least three buses with Lone Sailor ads on them as they carry passengers throughout the county.

“Our plan is to coordinate the Kitsap Transit Line advertising with window displays, tabletop displays and mailers,” explained Carolyn Dankers, who serves on the Bremerton Lone Sailor committee. “Our hope is that the buscards will generate an awareness and discussion of the project and people can follow up in businesses, on the web or through direct contact.”

Bremerton and the surrounding area has a long, rich naval heritage that is often forgotten by long-time residents or unknown by newcomers, Dankers said.

“We hope that the statue is a visual reminder of the daily major contributions offered by our young men and women who protect our country,” she said. “We need to step up to the plate and say thank you and welcome to our community in a public venue.”

The committee’s hope is that Bremerton’s many historical contributions that span more than 100 years can be highlighted and promoted to encourage pride and tourism to the area, she said.

“The Lone Sailor statue is just one part of the bigger picture in this endeavor, but we believe that it is a significant factor,” she said.

At today’s Armed Forces Day Festival the committee will have a car in the parade and the Lone Sailor effort will be highlighted at the Navy League’s gala event tonight as well, she said. All of that will be preceded by the Great White Fleet ceremony at 9:15 a.m. today at the corner of 5th Street and Pacific Avenue.

“Yesterday, as I was walking along Pacific Avenue with a friend, we saw three Kitsap Transit buses with the big ads and looked around and saw the posters on so many businesses so that was really exciting,” Dankers said on Wednesday morning.

In conjunction with the Armed Forces Day actives, Lone Sailor committee co-chairs Tim Thomson and Ron Testa are speaking to military and community organizations, and committee member Carol Meteney recently did a radio talk show to promote the effort, Dankers said.

“This type of coordinated effort to promote the project and the young men and women in uniform is helping to build momentum to make this project successful,” she said.

Another committee member, Doug Cook organized a high school, middle school contest of art and essays on the Lone Sailor, Dankers said. The winners will be recognized at the Armed Forces Gala at the Admiral theatre tonight.

This has been such an exciting project on its own,” she said. “The essays were titled ‘What the Lone Sailor means to me.’ They are worth reviewing.”

So far enough money has been raised to pay for the casting of the statue, but now the emphasis is on procuring enough money to complete the costs of the statue including moving the statue across the country, the installation and dedication, she said.

“We really want to generate grass root support for the Lone Sailor and we are pleased with the results,” she said. “Each day, we receive donations from parents, relatives, retired military and community members who want to participate.”

The hope is that the statue will be dedicated as close to the Navy’s birthday in October as possible, but much work remains to be done in order for that to happen, Dankers said.

For more information about the effort visit the group’s Web site, www.lonesailor-bremerton.org.

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