By Susan Motander
The City of Monrovia has announced the third Neighborhood Treasure, Bettie Mae Scott. She was one of 1,074 women who volunteered to serve in the WASPs – Women Airforce Service Pilots and one of the 38 who died in such service. These women ferried new planes to bases as well as testing repaired aircraft. It was in testing one of these repaired planes in July of 1944 that Scott was killed when the plane she was flying crashed.
The city has planned a block party for Nov. 17 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the 500 block of West Maple between Mayflower and Highway Esplanade. Please note that this block of Maple can only be accessed from Highway Esplanade.
The Neighborhood Treasures program celebrates Monrovia heroes for their contributions to the community. With each celebration, the city places a piece of art unique to the person being honored.
Scott was the daughter of the Monrovia Police Chief, Frank Scott. She was born in 1921 and attended Monrovia Arcadia Duarte High School and Pasadena City College (PCC). She was among the first women who qualified to fly military aircraft during the war. She was killed in Waco, Texas just a month before she was scheduled to be married.
At that time, the WASPs were not recognized by the military and so she was sent home without any military honors. Her fellow women pilots contributed the money to have her body shipped home to Monrovia. It was in her hometown that she was honored when, on the day of her funeral, local businesses closed and the Monrovia Police and Fire Department gave her the honor the military denied her by escorting her body to its final resting place in Live Oak Cemetery.
Scott was selected one of PCCs 75 most distinguished alumni in celebration of the college’s 75th anniversary. In 2010 Congress finally recognized the contributions of the WASP and on March 10 of that year Scott was posthumously honored with a Congressional Gold Medal, when all her fellow WASPs were presented with their medals. By then most were in their 90s.
The city would like the whole community to turn out for the block party to honor this Monrovia heroine. If you have any questions about the event, please call Ariel Tolefree-Williams at (626) 932-5563.