The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Saturday, at 10:00 a.m., Melinda Whiteman of the Stronghurst Booster Club addressed the well-wishers who came to honor the memory of Doc Pogue with the opening of a spray park.
"What a beautiful day! What a beautiful setting and what a beautiful event for us all to gather for.
"This spray park is a "dream come true" for many but initially the dream of Diana Taylor and Jade Parker.
In 2011 they presented the idea to the Stronghurst Booster Club and to the Village of Stronghurst.
The Booster Club made the commitment to raise the funds and the Village made the commitment to provide this beautiful setting in their park, insurance, maintenance, water and electrical costs.
"What you see today is the result of countless hours of work by many hands and the donations of many businesses, farmers, foundations, individuals and yes, even children. It was truly a team effort.
"On behalf of the Stronghurst Booster Club I want to thank each of you for supporting this project and I would be remiss if I didn't include a special to a few individuals.
"The beautiful flowers, shrubs, trees and landscaping is not the work of a professional landscaping company it is the work of Diana Taylor, Jade Parker, Jerry Keimig, Jim Blender and Ron Gittings and his crew from the Village. Isn't it wonderful.
"As I look out into the crowd I see many faces. The faces of Stronghurst, Raritan, Carman, Media, and Smithshire. Faces from all other Henderson County and Western Illinois but there is one face that is missing today. The face of the man for whom this spray park is named after and dedicated to, Doc Pogue.
"He knew your faces too.....and the faces of your children, mothers, fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers. The faces that he was dedicated to caring for over 30 years right here in Stronghurst.
"Like the countless of hours of work that went into this spray so were the countless hours of care that he provided to the residents of this community so they could live good lives in rural America.
"If he were here today, he would be standing among us excited about this unique addition to his community and hometown so it's only fitting that from this day forward this spray pad be named the Doc Pogue Memorial Spark Park.
Stronghurst Mayor Gary Root followed Melinda with a few words.
"Welcome to all. And a thank you to the members of the Stronghurst American Legion Honor Guard, Jim Blender for leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance and to Jimmy (Jacob) for the National Anthem.
"On behalf of the Village Board of Trustees and staff, it is indeed an honor today to welcome you to today's dedication of the Doc Pogue Memorial Spray Park.
The Village of Stronghurst has a history of providing recreational facilities and activities for its residents and for those who consider Stronghurst their home community.
"During the last few years, we have constructed a basketball court; added a unisex restroom; upgraded the shelter house, tennis court, landscaping, and playground, and added seating, sidewalks and accessibility features.
"We are here today to highlight a new addition in the Village's Public Park.
"The Booster Club conceived the splash park project in 2011 to offer Stronghurst residents and visitors a recreational opportunity not available in the area. The village board voted to support the project and committed to providing land, water, waste water, and electrical services, and on-going maintenance.
"But it is because of your commitment to making Stronghurst an even better place to live and to the leadership of the Stronghurst Booster Club, that I, Gary Root, President of the Village Board of Trustees, offer our appreciation and our acceptance of the Doc Pogue Memorial Spray Park on behalf of the community."
Doc Pogue's wife and son Silas thanked the community and organizers on behalf of the Pogue families before the actual ribbon cutting and opening of the Spray Park took place.
The event was preceded by the annual Doc Pogue 5-K Memorial Run and a breakfast in the Shelter House, the presentation of the flag and pledge of Allegiance.
Surrounded by the Pogue family, Terri Pogue cuts the ribbon for the Doc Pogue Memorial Spray Park which is named in memory of her late husband for the community spirit he brought to town
.....and with the clip of the scissors - the Spray Park fun begins!