By KEVAN MOORE
Mick Hersey is on a mission to beautify Bremerton.
Earlier this month, the retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief spearheaded an effort involving 60 sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan and the naval hospital, to repaint the utilities building on Bremerton’s boardwalk.
The building was originally painted white with green striping. It is now traditional haze grey with a dark grey railing, doors and accent stripes. Hersey and the sailors also cleaned up the USS Franklin memorial plaques on the side of the building.
“The USS Franklin lost 913 men during World War II” and their names are etched in granite on three plaques that adorn the walls of this building, along with memorials of two Medal of Honor Recipients on their ship,” Hersey said. “We honor those men and their ship by painting this building to resemble an aircraft carrier island structure in these colors.”
Hersey said a “13,” the ship’s hull number, will also eventually be added to the side of the building.
“People are really gonna notice it and are more likely to go back on top and use it as a viewpoint,” he said.
Last year from February to May he and his niece, Tameka Hulsen, redid all of the plaques on the boardwalk.
“After I finished that, I started looking around town,” he said. “With connections I’ve got in the Navy, I said why don’t we start cleaning up the rest?”
Originally, Hersey said he was going to enlist the help of sailors from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis. But she found herself underway in the Middle East months ahead of schedule and sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan stepped in to help, he said.
In addition to the work on the boardwalk, Hersey and the sailors have repainted and touched up “Hal’s Corner” at Sheridan and Warren Avenue where the anchor from the USS Bremerton sits along with two 40 mm guns. They’ve also cleaned up the Elizabeth Ellington plaque and put up a new flag and flagpole at 837 Fourth Street.
But, Hersey isn’t done yet. He says that he and the sailors will be doing work at the World War I memorial in Evergreen Park and the guns at Illahee Park.
“It makes you proud to be a Bremerton resident once you get them cleaned up,” he said.
Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent agrees. She also thinks the world of Hersey.
“He is a treasure for the city,” she said.