Hopkins County Heritage Park gets spruced up, thanks to  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints volunteers

BY PATTI SELLS | News-Telegram Feature Writer

June 17, 2007 - Forty-three members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were in attendance for their yearly community service project Saturday, June 9, at Hopkins County Heritage Park.

Staff Photo by Angela PItts

(Left to right) Bob Sims, Laree Aguilar and Layton Carpenter chat while preparing for some work at Hopkins County Historical Society's Heritage Park.

With chainsaws, ladders, trowels and hammers in hand, members set out to make repairs throughout the park’s 11 acres with the main focus being that of the 1850 Vaden Cabin, one of the establishment’s earliest additions.

"This will be the first chinking I've ever done," said church member Darrell Stringer, who in the past, along with other church members has helped clean up local cemeteries and assisted in other helpful projects around town. "We go where ever there is a need."

This year, Heritage Park was the area they set their sights on for service.

Hopkins County Historical Society member Verdon Graves said he "jumped at the chance" to have a little extra help around the park.

"The work on the grounds is totally done by volunteers," explained Graves, who said Historical Society membership runs around 135 with only 20 (on a good day) active in the upkeep of the grounds. "We need all the help we can get."

With several church members being carpenters or involved in some aspect of construction, helping restore and maintain the buildings at Heritage Park seemed like the perfect cause.

"We’re probably gonna’ make this our annual community service project," said Stringer, with a happy Verdon Graves by his side.

So, with handmade mud trays, trowels and Portland cement mixed with lime, the volunteers set out to fill in gaps between the hand-hewed logs of the 18 foot  x 20 foot Vaden Cabin, that at one time housed a family of 10 near Tira, according to records.

Other projects on the park grounds included the scraping, painting and replacement of rotten boards on the general store, as well as a storage building in the park. The group also removed a large stump on the grounds and did other minor repair work.

"These days everybody gets so busy, but this kind of work is very rewarding," Stringer said.  

According to Stringer, though The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1701 Loop 301, is a small church with membership at about 80, more than half of the church family comes together each year to provide a service to the community. 

"This teaches our kids an important lesson of service and giving back to the community we live in," he said.

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