On Sept. 14 at 6 p.m., the community of Marshfield and Webster County are invited to the dedication and naming ceremony for Marshfield’s new pool and future activity complex.

The complex will be named "Patriot Park," and it will be dedicated in the honor of those who are veterans or are actively serving in the military or emergency services. The first action as part of this new theme will also take place at this ceremony, and this will be to name our new pool facility in honor of Marshfield’s hometown hero who served with distinction in World War II, then dedicated the remainder of his life to serving local families as a physician and statesman. The pool will be named the “Dr. Tommy Macdonnell Aquatic Center,” and this will serve as a reminder to future generations of one who modeled a life of selfless sacrifice and service in a spectacular way.

Coordinating this event has inspired a great deal of passion for many. Since being elected as mayor, I have sought the right opportunity to establish a tribute to the local men and women who are veterans or are actively serving in the military or emergency services.

It is my observation that there are two threads that are very obviously woven into the character and core of the Marshfield community: a love for Jesus Christ, who laid down his life to save us from ourselves, and an appreciation of the men and women who have placed their life on the line as our protectors. I feel like our community churches do a great job of carrying forward the message of the first core character trait, and I want to encourage anyone in our community that does not currently attend a local church to pick one out this Saturday or Sunday and go. I know you will be welcome, and if you don’t find that to be true, contact me and I will be pleased to sit with you where I attend.

Regarding the second core character trait, the goal has been to find a tribute that would be substantial enough to communicate beyond our city limits that Marshfield honors sacrificial service, and long-lasting so that our core character of patriotism would be carried forward by future generations. It wasn’t until the new pool opened that the opportunity was realized. The pool and the new multi-acre activity complex were going to eventually have a name and theme, so why not claim it now by establishing a patriotic theme and dedicate both in honor of our local protectors?

The complex is currently nothing more than a big piece of land with a new pool; however, there is a plan in place as part of the new Parks Master Plan for it to develop into an activity hub for our community. If we dedicate it from the very beginning to carry the message of patriotism, and to complement similar efforts like the Independence Day Parade and the memorials on the square, it will develop into something much more special than an activity hub; it will be a monument to the patriotic character of Marshfield.

All the approvals that are needed to make this happen have been given, and the only thing left to do is the actual ceremony, which is being coordinated by a community group that will eventually transition into the custodians of the park theme. We are inviting all our veterans and active military or emergency service providers to be honored guests, and our entire Marshfield area community to attend in a show of support. We are very fortunate that Dr. Tommy Macdonnell will also be in attendance (even at 96 years of age), and our city, county, and state officials (including Governor Mike Parson) will be present.  The event will have a helicopter, an old Army jeep, a bearcat, fire engines and medical and law enforcement vehicles. There will be opportunities to connect with these special people and thank them for their service. 

If you have access to old or new military vehicles and can have them at the event, or if you would like to help with the event, or be a part of the future theme custodial team, please send an email to patriotpark@marshfieldmo.gov and we will get you plugged in. The event will take place in the parking lot next to the new pool (just north of CC Highway on what will be the continuation of Elm Street). 

Eventually, Patriot Park will have other named facilities, but also opportunities for families to have banners, benches or other amenities to honor their own special patriots. Thank you to those who are working hard to coordinate this monumental opportunity, and most importantly, thank you to our veterans and active military and emergency servants and families. Your sacrifice is noticed and appreciated.

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