Had the good fortune Saturday evening to attend the Gala Mayor’s Ball, a fundraising event for the continued reconstruction and update of the historic National Guard Armory in downtown Cottage Grove.
The event was opened with the Jewel Tones singing old standards from the 1930s and ’40s. They were accompanied by the Blue Skies Big Band, which, after the fundraising event and dinner, continued to play for the enjoyment of the many people who were dancing.
The keynote speaker for the event was Major Mary Jennings Hegar. Major Hegar flew over 100 combat and rescue missions in Afghanistan as a helicopter combat pilot. In addition to the Purple Heart medal that she was awarded for injuries in combat, she is the only woman to be awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross Air Medal, other than Amelia Earhart.
We witnessed a historical event, as the mortgage was shredded on stage. The Armory is now solely owned by the citizens of Cottage Grove!
For those of us who are in rural areas, and neighbors to the north and south, in Drain and Creswell, the Armory, in years to come, will offer so many venue options that we can all participate in and enjoy.
For instance, very shortly, rollerskating will return to the Armory.
The Armory brings back many memories to me, and I’m sure to many, young and old, in the area. For so many years, Rotary held the annual Christmas party at the Armory. In those years, Ivan Hoyer and I would photograph up to 350 young ones on Santa’s lap.
The citizens of the South Valley have so many wonderful things to be proud of, such as the covered bridges, beautiful bike trails, recreational lakes, the soon-to-open, updated and rebuilt swinging bridge – and, in the not-too-distant future, a beautiful 1929 restored carousel.
Many of the above items have been brought about through volunteerism, fundraising events such as the Mayor’s Ball, the visions of a few people of the future and love of historic value.
Editor’s note: Don Williams is founder and president of the Friends of the Cottage Grove Carousel.