Bench, tree dedicated at ‘new’ Memorial Park
MEMORIALIZED — Above, Pastor Paul Andree speaks during the dedication ceremony at New Richland’s Memorial Park July 11. Below from left are NR firefighters Dan Budach, Cody Dobberstein, Anthony Svoboda, Tom Gislason, Craig Eustice, Curt Pederson, Brian Svoboda, Tyler Hansen, Mike Thompson, Mike Shurson and Mitch Thompson. (Star Eagle photos by Chris Schlaak)
By JIM LUTGENS
In a solemn, inspirational ceremony, the recently landscaped Memorial Park — as it has become known — was dedicated Friday evening, July 11, during New Richland’s Farm and City Days.
The new hospice tree — donated by Mary Ignaszewski and family, and the bench that was donated in memory of Tommy Bruzek by the NR Fire Department 10 years ago — were the main focus.
Gail Schmidt of the New Richland Area Foundation, which donated $2,200 toward the project, was the first to speak.
“We wanted to create an area that gave off a peaceful and serene atmosphere,” said Schmidt. “And I think we accomplished that.”
Firemen Brian Svoboda and Mike Shurson attached a plaque to the bench in memory of Bruzek. Pastor Brian Gegel dedicated the bench.
Pastor Paul Andree of New Richland’s Trinity Lutheran Church was next, delivering a stirring speech:
“We are honored to welcome you to this ceremony dedicating this memorial garden to the memory of our loved ones,” said Andree. “How we miss them – our family members and friends. This garden makes sure that they will never be forgotten and how they enriched each of their lives.
“The goal in planning this garden was to create a beautiful and peaceful and living place where the names of our loved ones could be remembered forever, and that it would also become a place of reflection and renewal.
“I hope you will come to believe that we have reached our goal. In this beautiful garden, surrounded by this beautiful mural, we have drawn on the strength of stone, bronze and on the growing-back ability of plant life to communicate lasting and continuous renewal. The garden is just off one of the most heavily used sidewalks of our town — a direct path to the post office — providing comfort and encouragement and reflection. We believe that because of its design it will become a place of quiet retreat, and it will serve as a constant reminder of our loved ones remembered here.
“Toshiko Takaezu said, ‘You can't just throw a seed and say, 'grow.' Like anything else, if you want to do it well, you have to get involved. You have to pull the weeds, feed and water the plants. You have to give attention and be sympathetic. You have to put part of yourself into it.’
“Our family members and friends put part of themselves into each of us. We were also involved in their lives. We helped them grow, and they in turn left their marks on us. We remain intertwined with them for eternity, and this lovely garden ensures that we shall never forget them.” (adapted from President Shirley M. Tilghman’s, Princeton University, speech of September 13, 2003)
After a brief message from Pastor Charles Espe, Andree dedicated the new tree, which was lit by Espe.
Songs played were “Angels Among Us,” by Alabama and “Angels Watching Over Us,” by The Oak Ridge Boys. Raece Johnson ran the sound equipment.
Donors for the project:
NR Area Foundation $2,200
NR Fire Department $2,500
Ignaszewki Family New Hospice Tree
Roger Herbst Large Rocks
Kermit Schoenrock Rock
“We have received so many amazing compliments on the improvements,” said Schmidt. “The ceremony was so touching that one lady came up to me at the pancake breakfast and gave me a hug and cried.”
It was Schmidt’s idea to do something about the corner between the NR Post Office and NR City Hall since the original hospice tree grew too large, obscuring the view of a mural and simply taking up too much space. But she refuses to take all the credit.
“It was truly a group effort to get this project done and the dedication ceremony put together for Farm & City Days,” she said. “A very special shoutout of gratitude to the crew from Sequoia Landscaping of Ellendale! They are amazing people to work with.”
Schmidt explained how the project got started and eventually came to fruition.
“I approached Mary last year and asked if we should do something about that tree, which was overgrowing everything,” said Schmidt, who then called a community meeting where 12 people showed up.
“It turned out to be a really good meeting,” she said. “We were basically given the blessing to go ahead.”
So, she reluctantly called Gordy Ebnet to remove the old tree, and worked with Sequoia Landscaping to complete the project on time.
“They (Sequoia) were so gracious,” said Schmidt. “They originally said they couldn’t get it done until August, but they got it done in time for Farm & City Days.”
Schmidt said Ignaszewski has been the most helpful and the most appreciative throughout the project.
“That corner means a lot to her,” said Schmidt. “She gets teary eyed every time she talks about it.