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Photos: Courtesy Cascade Joinery
Nestled among the trees in Bellingham’s Big Rock Garden Park, the Korean War Children’s Memorial Pavilion honors U.S. servicemen and women for their humanitarian aid during the Korean War. The “Army of Compassion” saved the lives of over 10,000 children, and this memorial is the only one in the U.S. or abroad dedicated to those troops and the children they protected and helped to survive. Orphanage administrators reported that over 90% of their aid came from servicemen and women, and their children would have died without that support.
The memorial pavilion was completed in 2006, but over the next decade, the weight of the ceramic tiles that make up the roof–totaling nearly two tons!–began to take a toll on the structure. Cascade Joinery was asked by the City of Bellingham to step in to restore the pavilion.
With support from the engineers at Fire Tower Engineered Timber, the team at Cascade went to work fabricating the materials necessary to reinforce the roof structure. After jacking up the beams to as near level as possible, they installed new steel plates, bolts, and many fasteners to hold the beams together. This may sound simple enough, but it required them to lift five eave timbers from their supportive housings at five star points in order to complete the remediation work, and then set them back into their housings and secure them.
Dr. George Drake and his wife Mary Ann donated the property that makes up Big Rock Garden Park near the top of Alabama Hill; he then led the effort to build the memorial pavilion. At the close of the original dedication event in 2006, Dr. Drake, a Korean War veteran, said, “Never before, in the fifty years since the armistice that ended the Korean War, has there been any formal recognition of the aid that the American Armed Forces rendered the children of Korea. We have now closed that gap, and as the history of that ugly war is written and rewritten it will have to include the recognition that even in times of war the American servicemen and women take with them to battle their love of children and do all they can to save the lives of those innocent victims and help them survive.”
Cascade Joinery says they are proud to have helped secure Dr. Drake’s vision and ensure the Korean War Children’s Memorial Pavilion will stand for decades to come.