WYOMING – Jimmy Carter, the 39th president of the United States, will speak at the Wyoming Monument on the afternoon of May 28, and he and his wife, Rosalynn, will be the guests of honor at a fundraiser at the Stegmaier Mansion in Wilkes-Barre that same evening.
The formal announcement came Thursday night at a press conference at the Wyoming Borough Building. Mayor Bob Boyer said he was honored to have the former president and first lady visiting his town. May 28 will be declared Jimmy Carter Day in the borough, he said.
We intend to offer a warm welcome to the Carters, Boyer said.
Larry and Diane Cook, owners of Cook & Cook Estate Liquidators, helped arrange the visit in cooperation with Marcella Starr and the Wyoming Monument Association. Larry Cook said President Carter is a historian who authored a book – The Hornet's Nest – about the Revolutionary War.
The Wyoming Monument stands in remembrance of the lives lost at the Battle of Wyoming – the bloody Revolutionary War-era battle of July 3, 1778, during which 277 area residents were killed. Remains of the dead are interred at the site.
The speech at the monument will be free and open to the public. Organizers hope for a large crowd.
We've met with the Carters several times and have become friends, Cook said. Having the president speak at the Wyoming Monument seemed like a natural.
Carter, 88, will be the third U.S. president to appear at the landmark. Rutherford B. Hayes was there in 1878 and Teddy Roosevelt spoke in 1905. Since a U.S. president spoke there in the 19th and 20th centuries, it seems right that one should speak there in the 21st century, Cook said.
Marcella Starr, president of the Wyoming Monument Association, said she was overwhelmed to learn of the former president's visit.
In 2008, the monument was struck by lightning, she said. Thanks to (the late) Dr. Joseph Mattioli and his wife, Rose, we received a $100,000 donation to repair it and restore it. And now President Carter will speak at the site. These are once-in-a-lifetime happenings, and I'm so elated that this will happen.
Parking will be available at the Flack Sports Complex and people will be bused to the monument site.
Joe Matteo, who has owned the Stegmaier Mansion since 2005, said he is delighted to host the Carters again. The president and his wife stayed at the mansion in April 2011. The Carters were in the area to attend an auction at the auction house co-owned by the Cooks and Annette and Mark Parmelee.
That event raised $81,000 for the Plains (Ga.) Better Hometown Program. The Carters attended the auction that featured some of the couple's personal items, books and works of art.
In November 2011, the Cooks, along with Ben Kasmark and Malcolm Kosek, of Kasmark & Marshall Stained and Leaded Glass Co., delivered a custom 3-by-6-foot stained-glass window that was installed above the front entrance of the Plains Historic Inn in Plains, Ga. – Carter's hometown. At the center of the window is the presidential seal.
• Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are scheduled to appear at the Wyoming Monument at 2:30 p.m. May 28.
• They will be guests at a fundraising dinner later that night at the Stegmaier Mansion, Wilkes-Barre. Proceeds will benefit the Plains (Ga.) Better Hometown Program. For information about the dinner, call Larry and Diane Cook at 270-9239.