My last weeks article was barely off the press when I received a phone call telling me I had missed a very important person. I most certainly did. John Wilson was the Magna man who dreamed of making the Veterans Memorial Park what it is today.
Wilson was at one time Scoutmaster of this troop. He, himself, received the honorable Silver Beaver Award in scouting and was instrumental in helping many boys receive the Eagle Scout Award.
Where does a man get all his dedication and desire to devote so much to patriotism of his country? There is quite a story behind it all. John was a veteran of the Korean War. In 1991 he and his wife, Gladys, were on a trip to Elko, Nevada when John became very interested in a Veterans Memorial Monument there. It paid tribute to World War I, Korean War and Vietnam. He told Gladys that he wanted Magna to have the same outstanding monument in honor of our hometown veterans. As soon as they returned home he began the arduous task of developing the existing park, which was in very sad condition. The only things
that were there at the time was a flagpole erected in1966 and a cannon from
World War II. How was he going to accomplish his goal? He began by asking Laura Jo McDermaid for her help in getting permission from the state to improve this property which belonged to DOT. It was then deeded to the Magna Community Council for use as a park. So after much “red tape” he got the go ahead. John wrote numerous letters asking for donations. Howard Stahle, of the then Magna Times, offered to help with all the printing. He even wrote to Orin Hatch, Senator Bennett, Salt Lake County, and the SL Jazz team. The Magna and Hunter Lions Club gave great support, the VFW donated $10,000 and John finally had enough to finish the $50,000 project. It was dedicated in an awesome ceremony in 1996 due to the
dream and hard work of John Wilson and his recruits. There are three monuments there today. One, which is the replica of the one in Elko, “Freedom Is Not Free”, World War 1, The Korean War and Vietnam, the names listed actually gave their lives for this great country. The second monument on the front lists the employees of Utah Copper, and also Magna & Garfield Railroad who fought for their country in World War 1. On the back side of that are local veterans from different times, many who are still alive, including 11 women all from our area. The late Andy Nielsen assisted in finding these precious names. I was surprised to find two of my own relatives included, my uncle John Sutton and my cousin Bill Sutton. The third monument is The flagpole, erected in 1966. Two plaques were found in the Utah
Copper Club basement and were donated when the club was demolished.
Yes it is true, this week there are so many reasons Why I Love Magna. I hope haven’t left too many people out. Special thanks to Troop 100, Dale Richards ,
for many years of service, Laura Jo McDermaid, Scott Hill, John Wilson and family,
and all the great citizens that helped make this wonderful spot what
it is today.
John and Gladys Wilson are the proud parents of: Clyde Wilson, Deward
Wilson, Dixie Yeates, Chad Wilson and Maridawn Wadsworth. This is just one of the amazing families of Magna.
More tales to tell, Syl!