A memorial to women veterans could be in Singleton Park’s future.

Organizers will hold a meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the park, which is across the street from River Forks Park west of Roseburg. All women veterans are invited to attend and help decide what that memorial will look like.

The idea came up at a meeting of the Oregon Accessible Recreation group, which is planning other improvements at Singleton. (OAR  supports the memorial project but is not directly involved in it.)

“We’ve done things for the men all along but where are the memorials for women veterans?” organizer Carol Johnson said.

“I am shocked with how many women veterans we have here locally and we’ve done nothing for them, and not only did they go ahead and spend that time in the service but now they’ve come home and they’re doing the same thing here,” she said.

“They’re leaders. So we want to say thank you to the women veterans,” she said.

She said what the memorial looks like will be up to the women veterans.

“We’re not going to make the decision for them like other places have,” Johnson said. “We want to know what they would like to see there, where they would like to see it.”

Johnson’s husband, Korean War veteran Robert Johnson, will design the memorial. Johnson has plenty of experience, having designed a traveling wall honoring Vietnam veterans as well as a memorial for the local Veterans of Foreign Wars and one that stands in front of Building 1 at the Roseburg VA Medical Center.

Carol Johnson said Singleton Park has become rundown, and the Oregon Accessible Recreation group hopes to make other improvements there.

The group wants to make the park more accessible for people with disabilities, replace a fishing and boating ramp, renovate restrooms and clear out trees and brush that block the view of the North and South Umpqua Rivers merging to create the main stem Umpqua River.

While the purpose of Saturday’s meeting is to gather women veterans and seek their input, a future meeting will be opened up to the public for feedback and in hopes of attracting additional support, Johnson said.

Deanne Stanberry is working with the Johnsons on the memorial project. Though she works as a women veterans nurse navigator at the VA, this task is one she’s taking on in her own time and without VA resources.

Stanberry said the memorial project is long overdue. She said while she isn’t a veteran, the project feels personal because a veteran coworker died suddenly last year.

She first heard about the memorial idea in 2019, but then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and everything was put on hold, she said.

Stanberry, who is not a veteran herself, said her role is to reach out to women veteran coworkers about the project.

These are some of the “sheroes” the project will need, she said.

“I love the word ‘sheroes.’ I think that’s so cool. I’ve seen every time something’s written about our heroes, somebody’s gone through with a magic marker and put an ‘s’ in front of it,” she said.

She said it’s important that women veterans lead the committees that will be needed for the memorial project’s success, and she hopes that among the veterans who show up Saturday will be a woman who would like to take a leadership role.

“I’m sure there’s some lady colonel out there who’s just itching for this to come along and take charge,” she said.

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213.

React to this story:

4
0
1
1
0

Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at ccegavske@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

Recommended for you

(1) comment

NJ

"...meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the park, which is *across the street* from River Forks Park..." Uhhh, oops? I really wish this wasn't hitting me as wrong. I'd like to believe that our women veterans are important enough for their memorial to be installed in a prominent place in Roseburg proper. Why does this read as though it's an afterthought to what the group really would like to do which is improve Singleton Park? And, there is no such word as 'shero', hero is gender neutral. Come on folks, put some more thought into how you want to be inclusive in honoring all our military heroes.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.