ome of the Cummins Inc. Seymour Engine Plant employees helping out with Tuesday’s Jackson County United Way Day of Caring hadn’t heard of Red Sky Rescue.
But once they arrived at the dog shelter near Medora, met owner Ruth Riley and interacted with the dogs, they appreciated all of the work she puts in on a daily basis to find homes for the animals.
Cummins machining department employees had a special project at the shelter, constructing the Liam Carter Memorial Garden. The 12-foot-by-12-foot space is in memory of the 14-year-old St. Ambrose Catholic School eighth-grader who died March 2.
Liam’s family said his greatest joy was his dog, Lucy, who was rescued from a shelter.
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A friend of the family contacted Riley about putting a garden on the property. She later received a letter about Day of Caring and thought that would be the perfect opportunity to make it happen.
“We’re just so grateful that the Day of Caring people jumped right on it, and we’ve got lots of help,” Riley said. “We’re just thrilled and so excited about being able to do this, and I feel really humbled and honored that they would ask us.”
The Cummins crew, assisted by volunteers with Red Sky and the Brown County Humane Society, spent the day planting a bush and perennial plants and placing a stone pathway, a hanging basket, a piece of driftwood, a fence, a bench and a memorial plaque reading “Living eternally in the hearts of loved ones.”
Holly Mack of Cummins said it was a nice day to work outside and knowing the garden is in memory of a child made it special.
“That touches your heart even more just that his spirit will live on and there is a memorial to him so that he can be remembered out here,” Mack said.
“You go through your day-to-day, and you’ve got to keep production,” she said of her job. “This is a whole different kind of production. This is something that brings a lot of joy, especially to his family, that there’s a memorial to him. Anything we can do as a tribute to somebody that lost a loved one, that means a lot to a lot of people.”
Mack said some Cummins assembly department employees helped Riley with the dogs.
“You don’t think about all these dogs out here that need help, and they need care, and somebody is out here trying to do that. And every once in a while, it’s great to come out and help with something like that,” Mack said.
Tina Sullivan, who also was a part of the Cummins crew, said the group worked at Emerson Elementary School in Seymour during last year’s Day of Caring.
“Cummins does a lot of stuff like that with the community,” she said. “Everyone likes to participate and come out and enjoy the weather. People need help, and I’m glad they ask us because we’re available.”
On the other side of Medora, members of the Medora Masonic Lodge worked at historic Carr High School and Weddleville Cemetery. The small group started the day by cleaning up the cemetery, established in 1892, and cleared brush around the property.
“Come Memorial Day, there will be a lot of people out there to visit and put flowers on the graves, so it’s going to look better with all of that done,” said Charles Darkis, a member of the Masonic Lodge and president of Historic Carr High School and Weddleville Cemetery Association.
Time also was spent cleaning inside the school, which was open from 1857 to 1934 and is the last standing pre-Civil War high school in Indiana, Darkis said. The school is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Nowadays, the school serves as a community building. Darkis said there have been several weddings and memorial services conducted there, and it’s the site of a free bean dinner on the third Saturday of August each year.
For many years, the building belonged to Medora Community School Corp., and it suffered vandalism and deterioration. It was deeded to the Seymour Heritage Foundation, but work never got started until it was deeded to the association in 2007.
Darkis said a few years ago, a Day of Caring crew helped paint the ceiling of the school. Any help the association receives makes a difference, he said.
“It’s a tremendous help,” he said. “It would have been very difficult to do it without Day of Caring.”
In Brownstown, about 10 Brownstown Exchange Club members landscaped the entrance to the county park at Jackson and Walnut streets on the east side of town. Additional landscaping work was planned at the two entrances to the county seat and the volleyball court at the county park.
Steve Edwards said the service club of about 35 active members has helped out at Camp Pyoca and the Jackson County History Center during past years of Day of Caring.