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Dunn recognizes Enumclaw resident’s service in the “War to End all Wars”

Summary

100 years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson sought a declaration of war to join our allies fighting in the Great War, now known as World War One. In recognition of this moment in history and in memory of the King County and City of Seattle employees who then left their families, jobs, and lives to serve our nation, King County Council Vice Chairs Reagan Dunn and Rod Dembowski unveiled two refurbished bronze plaques at the entrance of the King County Courthouse.

Story

100 years ago today, President Woodrow Wilson sought a declaration of war to join our allies fighting in the Great War, now known as World War One. In recognition of this moment in history and in memory of the King County and City of Seattle employees who then left their families, jobs, and lives to serve our nation, King County Council Vice Chairs Reagan Dunn and Rod Dembowski unveiled two refurbished bronze plaques at the entrance of the King County Courthouse.

“In the face of danger and discomfort, far away from home, our troops fought for our country and for freedom,” said Dunn. “King County will never forget that sacrifice, and these rededicated plaques serve as a physical reminder of that commitment.”

During the war, more than 60,000 residents of Washington served in the Army, Navy, Marines or Coast Guard including more than 500 employees of Seattle and King County government.

In 1931, King County and the City of Seattle affixed bronze plaques entitled “Honor Roll of County Employees” and “Honor Roll of City Employees” at the entrance to the County-City Building — now the King County Courthouse —to honor the service of these brave men and women.

Time and weathering left the plaques in need of repair, so Dunn and Dembowski advocated for funds to restore these pieces of local history. Today’s ceremony rededicated the newly restored plaques so that they may serve as a reminder of service for many years to come.

“It’s an honor to able to take part in events like these especially for veterans of WWI and WWII who led the way,” said Al Zarb of Enumclaw’s VFW Post Hall 1949. “There’s not many of those veterans left and their story must continue to be told.”

One of the names honored on the memorial plaque was James George Laframboise, who worked as a Truck Superintendent for King County before serving in World War One. Laframboise came from a well-known family in the City of Enumclaw, his father Samuel served as Mayor of Enumclaw, a brother Clarence was the owner of the Enumclaw Courier-Herald and another brother, Guy, served as Fire Chief of the Enumclaw Fire Department. Two of his relatives were able to join the ceremony in his memory, his grandsons Harry and Mike Shepard. 

“We never even knew our grandfather worked for the County, we knew he was a mechanic with the merchant marines during the war, but it was a surprise to hear he was going to be honored,” said Harry Shepard, grandson of James George Laframboise. “This event has been just great.”

“It was a surprise to hear our grandfather was going to be honored,” said Mike Shepard, grandson of James George Laframboise. “We greatly appreciate being a part of this event and if our grandfather was still alive I’m sure he would have been pleased too since he lived here in Seattle.” 

To see the newly rededicated plaques, visit the 4th Avenue entrance to the King County Courthouse (516 3rd Ave). The memorial is located on the 4th Avenue side of the building between James and Jefferson streets.

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Councilmember Dunn joins Harry and Mike Shepard, grandsons of James George Laframboise, in front of the newly refurbished plaques. James George Laframboise was one of the veterans who worked for King County who was honored at today's ceremony.

 

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Tom Krueger leads the ceremony in a prayer as Al Zarb looks on. Krueger and Zarb are both members of Enumclaw VFW Post Hall 1949.

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