By Chad Koenen
Knee high corn by the Fourth of July is a good sign of things to come—knee high corn in a veterans park, well that’s not necessarily something that anyone really wants to see.
Fortunately, Gary and Sheryl Misegades of rural Henning have answered a call at the Henning Military Park to maintain and beautify one of the larger military parks in the central and eastern part of Otter Tail County.
After a call went out on Facebook about the need to pull some large weeds that were overtaking the still-new Henning Military Park, the Misegades’ began pulling weeds in the rock beds and plants, all-while enlisting the help of family members who have volunteered their time to enhance the military park.
“A call went out on Facebook that we needed to do something about the weeds,” said Sheryl. “It’s just kind of something we can do.”
Throughout the summer the Misegades family has been a staple at the park by pulling weeds and working on maintenance projects. They quickly felt a pull to do more at the park by ensuring it looks as pristine as things like the new baseball field and festival grounds, both of which are near the military park. They have enlisted the help of children and their grandchildren to spend an hour at a time picking weeds and ensuring the flowers look presentable.
Sheryl said they have been asked by people in the community about work days to pull weeds, but she said for now they just go for an hour or so when they feel up to the task and have some spare time. She said people have been gracious and want to help however possible and they encourage people to pick weeds or rake mulch back into the garden whenever they are at the park and feel the urge to help a bit.
“People really are more-than willing to help, but sometimes we just go for an hour and pull weeds,” she said. “If someone wants to do one day a week to go and pull some weeds (that would help).”
An Air Force and Vietnam veteran, Gary said the couple also joined the Henning Military Park board of directors and have installed helped to install some of the new enhancements at the park. A new border was installed around the park and a metal sculpture created by Scott Gunderson was also installed as a focal point at the park. A crushed asphalt parking lot has also helped to give the park a new look.
The park board was incorporated in 2011 when a group of residents got together to move the large granite monument from the city park on Marshall Ave. to its current spot on a triangle piece of city-owned land on Douglas Ave. Gary credited Sharon Thiel for really getting the project off the ground in the early years. Both Gary and Sheryl said there have been countless community members over the years who have helped at the park and made it what it is today.
Over the years a number of pavers were installed, as were lighted flags, a walk way, bench and more to provide a place for reflection and honor the sacrifices made by veterans and their families.
Gary said the park board is currently focused on maintaining the park right now, which includes the never-ending task of maintaining the flowers and pulling weeds in the summer. He said the plan is to have a work day in the spring, which will include laying down more mulch at the park and help is always appreciated from the community.
On Friday the Misegades’ and members of the Henning Military Park Board will be at the Veterans Day program at the school selling commemorative pavers at the school. The pavers can be engraved with the name of a veteran as a way to honor their service. The pavers not only line the walk way of the park, but they also act as a fundraiser to help make future upgrades at the growing park.
Forms for the pavers will be available at the Veterans Day program and more information about helping at the park will also be available on Friday.