An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Surviving spouse, unit members fulfill final wish

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Andrew Enriquez
  • 113th Civil Engineer Squadron

WASHINGTON -- Members of the 113th Wing, District of Columbia Air National Guard and local community members gathered on consecutive weekends to help construct the Master Sgt. Scott Walters Memorial Playground in Vienna, Virginia, finishing May 6th, 2023.

Walters was a 37-year veteran of the military, including the active duty Marine Corps and serving in the Illinois Air National Guard before the Civil Engineer Squadron at the 113th Wing. He died in 2021 after health complications caused him to return from an overseas deployment.

Walters is survived by two children and his wife Erica Meadows, who purchased the playground equipment and landscaping supplies in his memory. Meadows says after he received his prognosis he had three specific wishes: To be buried in Arlington National Cemetery, to have the community food garden he established continue producing, and to donate a playground to his neighborhood.

Meadows says these wishes reflect who he was, a proud service member and a caring community member.

“He went to 190 medical appointments,” Meadows said. “Somehow through all that, his prayer requests were always for others.”

Walters had identified the need for a new playground while acting as his neighborhood homeowners’ association president. The grassy area where the playground now stands belongs to the association, and with the equipment coming as a private purchase, all that was needed was skilled labor to install it.

The 113th Civil Engineer Squadron’s stock and trade is in complex construction projects, but Guard members outside the squadron also volunteered.

“We [had] about 25 people out here with various backgrounds and various skill sets, team-building and supporting the Walters family” said Maj. Joseph Barr, the squadron commander. “The primary emotion is how much we actually support each other, how much it means to the family us being able to come out here and do it.”

“Everyone [volunteered] because he had a very special impact on those that knew him,” said Chief Master Sgt. Joshua Vance, 113th Mission Support Group.

“And in whatever way we can give back to him, we will.”

For Barr, the work is also a tangible way to show that Air Guard members are good community members.

“It’s kind of the mantra of the Guard,” Barr said. “We’re embedded in the communities around us, and this is just an example of that.”

“It was not just us, we also had some of the community members engage with us, and it boosted our morale” said Tech. Sgt. Peter Nketia-Akonnor, who co-managed the project with Tech. Sgt. Kareem Stroman.

With the playground equipment assembled, mulch distributed and a bench installed, all that remains to be done for the Master Sgt. Scott Walters Memorial Playground is the creation and dedication of the official memorial plaque.

“The more I think about this playground the more deeply I am touched by the beauty of his unit completing his dream for him,” Meadows said. “It’s just amazing.”