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Coury delivers ‘State of the Station’
MARYSVILLE — The base commander of Naval Station Everett laughingly warned the members of the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce that they “live in interesting times,” which he admitted he wasn’t sure whether was a curse or not.
At the Chamber’s May 20 Business Before Hours, Capt. Mike Coury addressed area business owners’ interest in the economic impact of the roughly 6,500 military personnel, as well as their families, who are attached to either the base or its ships.
“That’s $300 million a year,” Coury said. “We’re the area’s second largest employer behind Boeing, even though we’re a relatively small base. Naval Station Norfolk is 10 times our size. We’re small but powerful.”
Coury predicted that Naval Station Everett’s impact on the community would expand with the installation of the Army National Guard facility at its Navy Support Complex in Marysville, which he anticipated would open this summer.
“You’ll see a lot of activity there during the weekends,” Coury said. “With monthly drills, the military will have even more of a presence here.”
When Chamber members such as John McKeon asked how they could better support those service members and their families, Coury cited programs such as the Chamber’s military family-friendly initiative as evidence that they’re already doing well by the military and their families.
“The support this community has shown us is absolutely superb,” Coury said. “It’s the finest I’ve ever seen. When we reenlist a sailor, we’re reenlisting his whole family. If they don’t enjoy the experience, he won’t reenlist. Communities such as yours are how we retain quality sailors. I’ve never gotten any complaints about this area.”
Coury noted that he’s met frequently with former and current Marysville mayors Dennis Kendall and Jon Nehring, as well as representatives of the Marysville School District, about meeting the quality of life needs of his sailors and their families, especially their children.
“If their parents get their orders in the middle of a school year, it can make it that much harder for them to reintegrate into the community,” Coury said. “It becomes more challenging for them to get into higher education if they lose certain opportunities.”
The public will be losing one of its few opportunities to enter Naval Station Everett this year, as Coury informed his audience that the base’s annual Freedom Festival, which takes place during the Fourth of July weekend, has been cancelled due to security concerns in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death. Naval Station Everett spokesperson Kristin Ching later elaborated that this heightened security posture applies to all Navy installations.
“It’s especially unfortunate because this is the Lincoln’s last year here,” said Coury, who added that the USS Lincoln and the USS Nimitz will swap out so closely that there will be a brief overlap of families, enough to tax the limited housing available in Snohomish County.