Jennie's Journey

Bronze statues a tribute to pioneering spirit

I find it fitting that the community of Sunnyside earlier this week unveiled two new bronze statues, honoring local heroine Bonnie Dunbar.

She isn't a hero in my mind because she served as an astronaut. No, she deserves the honor because she is an example of the fine people that grow up in the community.

The heroes of Sunnyside are all dreamers. They set goals and they set out to achieve those goals.

I think of Lloyd Miller, who is also a figure that will stand throughout history in Sunnyside. He is memorialized in bronze at Sunnyside's Centennial Square, holding his britches up as water flows from the Roza canal.

He was a dreamer, seeing all the possibilities before him if the local farmers could have an abundant water supply.

Miller is well-known for his relentless pursuit of funding for the Roza irrigation canal, having boarded the president's train to plea his case.

This city's pioneers were dreamers and that is why they were the inspiration for the dairy cow and milking maid eternalized on South Fifth Street.

Without the dairy industry, Sunnyside and the Lower Yakima Valley might have found another way to prosper. However, it was the dairy farmers that envisioned what was possible.

Ren Ferrell's statue is also a tribute to the pioneering spirit embodied in all of Sunnyside's heroes.

This past Monday I witnessed a proud moment in Sunnyside's history, the unveiling of the statues that pay tribute to Bonnie Dunbar. I believe, however, the statues are a tribute to the city and citizens of Sunnyside.

I was pleased to see so many community members present for the ceremony and was proud of the community for honoring the heroes of its past, present and future.

Dreamers like Dunbar are truly the product of such a supportive community and I know she is not going to be the last person raised here to accomplish their goals.

That is the one message I believe that is most prevalent from looking at all the bronze statues...dream big, reach for the stars and grab a hold of every opportunity available to you.


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