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Major General Raymond F. Rees, the Adjutant General of the Oregon National Guard, speaks to the crowd assembled Friday at the new James W. Nesmith Readiness Center.
October 16, 2012
DALLAS -- The elegant assembly hall at the Col. James W. Nesmith Readiness Center in Dallas was filled with soldiers, community members and state and local officials as the Oregon Army National Guard celebrated the official opening of its newest facility Friday.
Dallas Mayor Brian Dalton welcomed the 162nd Engineer Co. back to Dallas, saying the community would always support them.
"We will cheer for you. We will root for you. We will respect you and, when the chips are down, we will cry for you," Dalton said.
He also begged forgiveness -- for calling the building an armory. Dalton said it's a mistake born of habit, as the former building the unit occupied was known as the Dallas Armory. He said Dallas had a strong connection to the building located in downtown
"When local folks slip and call it an armory, please take it as a great compliment," he said. "That is how it is meant."
The Dallas unit dates back to 1848, shortly after the creation of Polk County. Thus, it seemed fitting to name the center after Nesmith, known as "the Father of Polk County."
Nesmith's great-grandson, Lewis McArthur, attended the ceremony, along with his daughter, Mary McArthur. He said his great-grandfather would have been proud to have the facility named after him.
"This is a great building," McArthur said following the ceremony. "They did a beautiful job."
Mary McArthur said considering Nesmith's commitment to both military and community -- in addition to being a soldier, he was a state and national legislator -- he would have been especially pleased that it was a National Guard center.
"I thought it was a great honor," Lewis McArthur said. "I was surprised, too. I thought Nesmith had been forgotten."