The 101st anniversary of the National Park Service was marked at Mount Rainier National Park with the dedication of a new memorial. Known as the “Valor Memorial,” it was erected in honor of four people who lost their lives in the park while conducting efforts to save or rescue others.
United States Congressman Dave Reichert, Park Superintendent Randy King and Deputy Superintendent Tracy Swartout spoke at the ceremony last week. More than 150 people were in attendance at the dedication.
The memorial was constructed in place next to the Longmire Community Building this summer. It honors Park Ranger Sean Ryan and Student Conservation Association Volunteer Ranger Phil Otis, who died together during a high-mountain rescue on Aug. 12, 1995. The Valor Memorial also honors Park Ranger Margaret Anderson, who was shot and killed by a heavily armed gunman when she prevented him from traveling into the crowded Paradise area on Jan. 1, 2012, and Park Ranger Nick Hall, who died on June 21, 2012, during the rescue of four injured climbers on the upper mountain.
“This memorial serves as a place to permanently honor and remember those who have lost their lives in the act of saving others at Mount Rainier National Park. It also reminds us of the selfless work that continues each day, and the risks faced, by those who serve in our National Parks as they protect park resources for the future, provide a way for visitors to connect with those resources, and work to keep people safe,” noted Superintendent Randy King in a press release.
The memorial was designed and installed by park staff with the engraving and delivery undertaken by Marenakos Rock Center of Issaquah. Funding for the Valor Memorial was provided by donations from the state of Washington and the Redmond Cycling Club, along with assistance from Washington’s National Park Fund.
Additional information about national parks in Washington and how the National Park Service works with communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment and provide outdoor recreation can be found online at https://www.nps.gov/state/wa/index.htm.