At a modest ceremony in Ronald Reagan Sports Park earlier this week, a 22” bronze bust of President Ronald Reagan was presented to the Temecula Town Association (TTA) in appreciation for making the largest single donation to the Reagan Can-Do Monument that graces the park today.


Kay Sterling, who with her husband John headed the group, received the bust, an exact copy of the bust portion of sculptor Chris Pardell’s Reagan statue and Monument.  The group disbanded in early 2000, and later donated their remaining funds, $40,000, to FRRSP.  The Sterlings also personally donated $1,000 each! 


Also attending the presentation were Mike Sterling, John’s son, Debby Haefner, a former TTA volunteer, and Ed Dominguez, incoming FRRSP president. John Sterling himself was unable to attend because of illness.  


Making the presentation was Perry Peters, president and founder of FRRSP, the organization which raised the funds to complete the first phase.  “Reagan is now smiling at a void,” said Peters, “but when the Monument is finished, he will be looking with approval at a husband, wife, son and daughter, working diligently at planting and weeding to help build the park without using government tax money.”


Speaking on behalf of the TTA, Kay said, “We are grateful to Perry Peters, the FRRSP Board and the City of Temecula for continuing the work that those dedicated volunteers envisioned so many years ago.” 


Kay noted that her non-profit charitable group was incorporated in 1970 to 1) preserve the place name Temecula, 2) promote and maintain the 1890’s architecture in Old Town, 3) provide community facilities and services and 4) produce specific annual events.  Accomplishing all they set out to do, they leave a lasting legacy for TTA.


After the dedication of the first phase on February 8, 2012, one of three benches at the Monument was dedicated to the TTA and a plaque on that bench lists all of its past presidents.


Peters noted that the Can-Do spirit of the residents or our community has continued to resonate.  More than $500,000 was raised to by another volunteer group to help the City build the Community Recreation Center, and FRRSP has raised more than $100,000 to build the first phase of the Can-Do Monument.  An additional $60,000 is needed to complete it.


Peters pointed out that the FRRSP also raises money annually to fund prizes for the top three winners of an essay contest on individual initiative for Temecula 3rd and 4th graders, charters a bus trip to the Discovery Center at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, where up to 50 8th graders from Temecula or Murrieta make leadership decisions in a simulated crisis that occurred during the Reagan Administration, and gives a $500 scholarship to a Temecula or Murrieta high school student annually. Repeating a quote that appears on the Monument, he expressed an ardent desire, “May we never lose that spirit.”