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Civilians honored for their service to military

Northwest Guardian

Published: 02:04PM September 8th, 2016

Serving those who serve is an honor, so it’s a bit of a surprise to be honored for serving the ones who serve you, said Margaret Farrell, who with her husband, John Farrell owns Farrelli’s and McNamara’s Pub and Eatery restaurants in DuPont.

The couple was honored, along with Lakewood City Manager John Caulfield, with the Lt. Gen. William H. Harrison Service Award and inducted into the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Nelson Recreation Center on Lewis Main Tuesday. On hand to induct the honorees was Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, I Corps commanding general, Col. Leonard J. Kosinski, 62nd Airlift Wing commander, and Col. Daniel S. Morgan, JBLM commander.

They thanked the honorees, who in turn, thanked those honoring them.

“It’s very humbling; we are the ones who are so thankful for what you do for our country. You keep us safe,” Margaret Farrell said to the crowd of mostly service members. “Thank you; we love you.”

Her husband echoed her words of gratitude.

“We are so honored. We are so honored having you in our restaurants and bars,” he said.

The couple has owned the two DuPont restaurants, both often filled with a clientele of service members, for the past 20 years. They also own restaurants in Lacey, Sumner, Parkland, Tacoma, Maple Valley and Fredrickson.

They will be opening a new location at Point Rustin within the next few months.

The Farrells celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary recently and have four adult daughters: Elizabeth “Liz” Lewis, Katie Farrell, Ann Farrell and Jacque Farrell. The couple also has six granddaughters, one grandson and three great grandsons.

Children are important to the family they said, so it’s not a surprise one of their altruistic and philanthropic endeavors involves JBLM’s Fisher House. Margaret Farrell said their decision to build a playground for Fisher House two years ago came after a tour of that facility.

“We saw an empty lot with a fence around it and asked about it,” she said. “We were told it was for a playground ‘someday.’ I asked if they would like one now.”

Although she and her husband both said they weren’t sure what it cost to build that playground, the couple has donated nearly $10,000 to Fisher House, for that and other projects, according to a biography provided in the Hall of Fame Inductee program.

The couple also has contributed more than $100,000 worth of burgers and pizzas for the Better Opportunities for Single Service Members program and collected toys worth $2,000 for JBLM’s Santa’s Castle. A few years ago they sent Farrelli’s pizzas to members of the 555th Engineer Brigade while deployed in Iraq.

The family also supports Wear Blue: Run to Remember, Pilot for a Day program, Special Operations Warrior Foundation and American Legion Post No. 53. They have adopted more than a dozen military families over the holidays.

It’s not just current JBLM service members the family supports. Lewis recalled when an Alabama woman contacted the restaurant. She was the mother of a Soldier returning home from overseas who, when asked what he wanted when he got home, told his mom he wanted a Farrelli’s pizza.

“We got some dry ice and sent that pizza right out there,” Lewis said, adding she was told by her father, when she first opened the DuPont pizza restaurant: “Whatever the military wants, we never say no.”

In addition to her work with the family businesses, Margaret Farrell serves as a court appointed special advocate, as a representative for foster children in Pierce County’s court system.

The Farrell family shared the Hall of Fame stage with fellow inductee, Caulfield, a U.S. Army veteran who previously served at JBLM as a Ranger in 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Prior to being appointed as Lakewood’s city manager in 2013, Caulfield was city manager in Mountlake Terrace, Wash., from 2006 to 2013.

Caulfield worked with Harrison, for whom the Hall of Fame Award is named, after Harrison retired from the military and was elected as the first mayor of Lakewood in 1995. Harrison, a former I Corps commanding general, served at JBLM from 1987 to 1989 and was inducted into the JBLM Hall of Fame in 2005. The award name was changed to further honor Harrison in 2015.

Caulfield is credited with fostering and initiating several JBLM community partnerships, including steering and leading the South Sound Military and Communities Partnership.

This included improvements to access roads and road infrastructure, improved conditions for JBLM school children, increasing the amount and lowering the cost of suitable housing for military families off base and enhancing mutual aid partnerships between Lakewood and JBLM, according to information in Caulfield’s portion of the event program.

Caulfield was lauded for his work on the Interstate 5 construction project to help alleviate traffic around the base.

Lanza likened the contributions of the Farrell family and Caulfield with athletes being inducted into the various sports hall of fames.

“Your contributions will last a lifetime,” he said. “We all wear uniforms and are recognized for our service, but you show us that you don’t need a uniform to serve. You represent what is good in the community.”