City Inducts Kirkland Resident Wes Carpenter into Plaza of Champions

Published on July 28, 2021

Plaza Champion Wes Carpenter and Family

Media Contact:
Joy Johnston
Interim Communications Program Manager
(425) 979-6562

KIRKLAND, Wash. –Surrounded by family, friends, supporters, and members of Kirkland’s elected body, third-generation Kirkland resident, decorated Vietnam war hero and tireless community advocate Wesley “Wes” Robert Carpenter was formally inducted into the Kirkland Plaza of Champions on July 24, 2021. A rare honor, only 23 individuals/groups have been inducted since 1988, making Wes the 24th honoree.

“It was a tremendous honor to gather with friends and neighbors to celebrate Wes at Saturday’s induction ceremony,” said Councilmember Toby Nixon. “I deeply respect the service and sacrifice of those who serve in the military, and their families, and am grateful to have been able to help formally recognize Wes for his selfless devotion to Kirkland and beyond.”

Commemoration at the Plaza of Champions is reserved for the best of the best, honoring those whose extraordinary achievements have had lasting and meaningful impact on Kirkland, and whose connection to Kirkland is resolute. Wes Carpenter was born at the Kirkland Hospital in 1943 and has lived in Kirkland his entire life, attending Rose Hill Elementary, Kirkland Junior High, and Lake Washington High School. He was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 21 and was deployed to serve in Vietnam in 1966. Wes saw intense combat in Vietnam and performed numerous heroic acts that saved the lives of his comrades. For his lifesaving heroism at Battle of Abilene and in other, subsequent combat situations, Wes was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Heroism, the Purple Heart for Wounds Received in Action, and an Army Commendation Medal with “V” Device for Heroism. 

Even prior to his military service, Wes demonstrated bravery and selflessness when he attempted to stop a robbery while working at the Rocket U-Save Oil Co. gas station in Houghton. In addition to Wes’s service to the country he has served the Kirkland community as a little league coach, president of the Chinook League, and the coach of the Senior Kirkland Babe Ruth Team, a regional Kirkland baseball team.

Wes’s nomination was championed by his daughter, Shelli Craig, a 15-year City of Kirkland employee, who became acquainted with the Plaza of Champions after engaging in the Parks & Community Services Department’s Kirkland’s Treasured Past Scavenger Hunt, which took place last fall.

Located near Marina Park, the Plaza of Champions was initiated in 1988 to honor and recognize groups and individuals in the greater Kirkland area who have reached the pinnacle of achievement in their chosen field and have, through that achievement, contributed in a significant way to our community. Honorees are inducted in a public ceremony and have a bronze plaque installed in their honor. Nominees must pass through a stringent eligibility review process including endorsement by both the Park Board and the City Council. Wes’s nomination passed through the process with ease as he met and exceeded the criteria. The Kirkland Park Board recommended Wes’s induction during its meeting on January 13, 2021. His nomination next advanced to the Kirkland City Council, which unanimously passed a Resolution inducting Wes Carpenter into the Kirkland Plaza of Champions at its Council meeting on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. This is the City’s first induction since 2017.

To view Wes’s nomination packet, please visit our website.


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