Last Saturday, Sunriver Resort honored its rich history during a dedication ceremony for Besson Commons, formerly the site of the South Pool. The ceremony occurred the same week that the site was dedicated as Camp Abbot seventy years ago.
Besson Commons will serve as the Resort’s newest outdoor venue, as well as a gathering place for resort guests.
The venue’s name was chosen to honor Colonel Frank S. Besson, the commanding officer of Camp Abbot during World War II. Several members of the Besson family attended the ceremony to formally dedicate the site, as well as to accept a portrait of Colonel Besson which used to hang in the Great Hall.
“The Besson Family is honored to have the legacy of our grandfather recognized by Sunriver Resort.” said Colonel Frank S. Besson III, “We are pleased to know that this site will bring joy to families for generations to come.”
The ceremony was also attended by local dignitaries and several distinguished members of the military including World War II Medal of Honor recipient Robert D. Maxwell of Bend, Oregon. Maxwell received the Medal of Honor for his heroism in France in 1944 when he saved his fellow soldiers by throwing himself on an enemy hand grenade.
Colonel Besson graduated with honors from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1909. Under his leadership, Camp Abbot served as an Engineer Replacement Training Center (ERTC) during World War II, where he fostered a mission to make Camp Abbot the best ERTC in the country. Colonel Besson was credited with fostering a strong ‘esprit de corps’ among the troops. He was best known for riding the grounds in his open jeep with pipe in hand, all while encouraging soldiers with his favorite slogan: “Sweat saves blood.”
“The dedication of this site memorializes our historic past and ensures that the extraordinary service to our country that was provided at Camp Abbot during WWII by Colonel Frank S. Besson, and those who served under his command, will be both remembered and honored today and many years to come.” said Tom O’Shea, Managing Director of Sunriver Resort.