He keeps the shine on The Jewel By The Bay
PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) —
Pensacola is home to a unique and very special place that holds a reverence to members of the U. S military. It is sometimes referred to as "The Jewel By the Bay." There is one particular volunteer who is truly dedicated to keeping this treasure a showcase worthy of those who serve and sacrifice.
It is a hallowed space. It holds the monuments that pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our military men and women.
Some, who bear the scars of that duty to country, were the driving force behind the creation of this place where their comrades would never be forgotten. Now, others, like Warren Palmer, are carrying the torch and service tradition of keeping good order here; "I was in the Navy for six years and that was just not enough, so I ended up retiring from the Army after 15 more years of service."
Palmer first noticed the Park just driving by during a visit to Pensacola in 1995. Shortly after moving here 10 years ago, he decided this was a place he wanted to do more than just "drive by."
"After time, with the military and my father and three uncles all served in World War II, you know, I appreciate someplace where there's, you know, honor for all the veterans - especially those who've fallen."
Palmer signed on as a volunteer. Much like the oath, he swore to defend his country, he more than honors his commitment to the cause of maintaining and enhancing this place.
He says there is much to do at the Park, "We trim low-hanging branches, the roses, the palmettoes over there, the sea grass. We clean memorials."
Major Paul Entrekin, USMC retired, is president of the Veterans Memorial Park Foundation, "He has done yeoman's work, unheralded, in the shadows. Nobody knows Warren's name, for the most part."
Entrekin says there is a high cost for having a park of this prominence. There are the lights, repairs, cleaning and additions to the Park; "A lot of that cost is absorbed by volunteers like Warren who do work that we would normally have to pay for."
Many visitors have a certain monument or space here that calls upon their hearts. For Warren, the Wall is that place and his reminder of why his commitment here is so important; "Leonard Warrnick, who was from Polk, Nebraska, was a friend of mine in the Navy. He was lost on a riverboat in Viet Nam in 1971. It's tough. I've got a classmate of mine up there on panel three."
Entrekin says this Park holds many memories, "We want the fallen to be remembered and not forgotten. And they deserve no less than to be remembered in the most beautiful way we possibly can."
For that reason, Warren Palmer will keep serving; "Never forget; never, never."