A school in Boston Bar is looking to honour the Cookie Monster, and a GoFundMe has been created to finance the effort.
Cookie Monster was the nickname for Ron Westerlund, a man who worked in maintenance at Boston Bar elementary-second school for almost 30 years.
Westerlund, who lived in North Bend for 60 years, liked to tease kids at the school and pretend he was going to take their cookies. He never did, but his shenanigans never failed to elicit smiles and laughter from the students.
An avid gardner and dog lover who devoted countless hours to his job and his community, Westerlund passed away March 5, 2021 at the age of 78.
The GoFundMe, started by Hope resident Riley Forman, proposes installing a giant Cookie Monster carving at the school.
“This will be to honour Ron’s memory, and bring some fun, colour, and happiness to all the future kids (and kids-at-heart) of Boston Bar,” Forman wrote. “Things have also been really hard for the communities in the canyon and the bottom line is the children in Boston Bar could use some joy in their life. What better way to do that than honour a man who served the schools and the community.”
Westerlund was a quiet guy who wouldn’t want a fuss made over him
“If you have ever lived in Boston Bar, you likely knew who Ron Westerlund was, which is unusual because he wasn’t a man who loved the limelight, and he wasn’t the kind of guy to talk your ear off,” Forman noted. “To most of us, we knew him as someone who worked really hard and never expected an ounce of recognition in return.”
But a fuss will be made because he quietly impacted so many lives, and Westerlund’s immediate family has given their blessing to the project.
Forman said the project leaders have already spoken with carver Ryan Villiers, who was responsible for the Rambo and Grinch carvings that delight locals and visitors in Hope. Villiers is on board, and Hope Communities in Bloom has been contacted to share their expertise in maintaining wood sculptures.
The GoFundMe was created March 15, with a target of $18,000 and as of March 17 the total sat $980.
Forman said the estimated cost of the project, including materials and installation, will settle in between $10,000 and $12,000 and 100 per cent of the GoFundMe proceeds will go to the carving and the school.
“Any excess funds raised will go to Boston Bar School for supplies or student scholarships,” Forman wrote. “Records of this will be posted on the Boston Bar Facebook group or by request to myself or Amanda Westerlund (Ron’s daughter-in-law). This summer, we will do some offline fundraisers to help reach our goals and will update those results on the Boston Bar Facebook Group as well.
”It is possible to reduce our price if we can get our hands on a very large piece of cedar and find volunteers to transport it to the carver in Edmonton. If you are able to help with that, please let myself or Amanda know.”
Find the GoFundMe at gofundme.com/f/boston-bar-school-cookie-monster-fundraiser