To the Editor:
During a Tour and Recreation board meeting, Mark Bassett had requested a grant for putting in grass and sprinklers between the freight barn and the depot. There was also other work that needed to be done around that area. As a member of the Tour and Rec Board, it is our job to grant requests for money. As funds are not available to fulfill all grant requests, Mike Coster and myself volunteered to put in the sprinklers and grass at the railroad. The job is done, but I feel I must relate to you how we accomplished that. With the little money that was granted to do the job, Ed Spear suggested that in order to get the most for the money that was set aside, we should use the honor camp crews. I had only planned on doing the grass and the sprinklers.
When the crew showed up the first day Ed Spear told Andy McVickers, the honor camp guard, all the work that needed to be performed. Those young men took the challenge and did the work like they were working on their own homes. I must admit, I still can’t believe the job they have done. Besides all the sprinklers and grass being done, they painted the restrooms, and removed and replaced pavers on the sidewalks where pipes had to go through to the planters. The kiosk was moved from one spot to another at Mark’s request, which I thought at first was a waste of time and resources. Those guys had to jack hammer out 3 feet of concrete around each leg of the kiosk, at times using a sledge hammer and hands to get the concrete out in order to move this 20 foot thing without taking it apart. After moving it and placing it back into concrete, I must admit Mark was right that it did need to be moved. The honor crew then spread decorative rock around the kiosk and also laid rock all the way around the bathrooms. The job is done, but I needed to tell everyone it could not have been accomplished without the honor crew. I have worked with many, many crews in my career and have never seen so many hard working guys as those men. It was a pleasure and an honor to work along side these guys. This job would never had been completed without their help.
They inspired me! Now I know why they call them honor camp crews. It certainly was an honor to work with them. Thank you to Andy McVickers and his crew. You guys ROCK!