BEFORE THE BUILDING…
notes from Jack Thompson
We held our meetings at the Legion club. The Court of Honor didn’t look to good. The flags were stored in the basement of the city hall in cardboards boxes. The tops were open and not kept very well. The trailer was in the old building behind the old fire station. What sockets we had were stuck along the wall.
It was decided to build a building. Del Shepard said he would donate $5000 to start a fundraiser. Mike Boylan and Lloyd Hicks were the leaders. People gave what they could. $40,000 was the goal. We got $20,000 and then the well went dry. We decided to put up a plain steel building with a dirt floor…just something to call our own. Lloyd and Carol kept books and everyone who gave had their names recorded, along with the amount. Those records are still in the office. We had two bids on the building. They were close but the Mercantile was local so went with that.
Then things changed. Marion Murphy passed away. She liked the Court of Honor and she left us $10,000. Then we got some $1,000 donations and finally we got our $40,000 goal. There had been no plans for the internal part of the building. It was done as we went along. The additional funding went to the water and sewer, the meeting room, the flag room, the wiring and the rest for two trailers. The roll up doors and suspended ceiling in the meeting room and all the wiring were done by Gordy Perkins and Lee Walters.
We decided on the location for the building. It would need 30″ of clay fill dirt. Don Cashatt furnished dirt, loader, 3 dump trucks and a roller-dozer, as well as a man to use the level. I was designated to dump the trucks. We had a good man on the dozer. The 30″ was off of road height.
The building was purchased from Farmers Mercantile and erected by their contractor. The floor was poured by Echternach Construction.
The interior of the building was done by lots of local people and Court of Honor members under the direction of Lloyd Hicks.
The ditch for the water and sewer was dug by Homer Focht from Alix Ave. to the building. Mike from Larson Plumbing and Jack Thompson laid the lines.
Number one – always talk to the cemetery people about driving sockets. They have to locate the markers for the lots. They are not all the same. We tired to stay 4 feet outside of the markers.
Years ago, before the building was built, the cemetery replaced some water lines. It amounted to several hundred feet of 1 1/4″ gaiv. pipe. They gave the old pipe to the Court of Honor. The pipe came out in lots of pieces. Some was cut in 20′ pieces that had to be straightened but we could use most of it for sockets. We ended up with about 300 sockets. We had a chop saw to cut them in to 2′ pieces. Then one end had to be crimped. The junk yard had a huge shearer that we used for that. The sockets were stored in the old fire station building with 2 trailers. Don’t remember who did all of this except Lloyd Hicks, Rex Holmes, Jack Thompson and 2 other guys.
Later those sockets were driven along the north fence. They are driven about 15′ south of each fence post. Two guys would measure and mark the spot with a wire flag. Jack drove the tractor and George Petty held the driver and socket on all of those. The city tractor was the best to drive socket.
The building was up so we needed black dirt to finish the slopes and the low spot south of the building. The city had a big pile of dirt north of the building. The city gave us the dirt and the use of the park loader tractor. Jack hauled dirt on all sides of the building and the low spot to the south. That took several evenings and a week- end to do this. I had hardly got the low spot filled when the seeding crew of Court of Honor members moved in. It was done.
Gordy Perkins and the Boy Scouts planted the bushes and the rail fence. The flag pole was donated by Homer Focht. It came from Homer’s Shop. It had been cut in two and had to be welded again. Guess Who?
First Fly over: Villisca had one the year before led by a guy from Villisca. We got a name and wrote to Washington DC and got a fly over the next year. It was a 4 plane fly over with the first pass at 11:00 – they turned and the second pass was the missing man formation. Haven’t had 4 planes since? One year, we tried for a B1 Bomber but didn’t get it. Several years ago the planes came from South Carolina. A Red Oak Boy led them. 4 planes flew into Offitt Air Force Base. 2 planes did the fly over. They were in radio contact from the ceremony to the planes. Avery Boose got the names added to the War II monument in the park. Grant, Villisca, Stanton and Red Oak American Legion Clubs joined to dedicate that. General Christenson was our memorial day speaker. He came a day early to seach for names in the cemetery. We have his speech on tape. It was great. Vice President Bush came to town. His body guards had to see everything. We didn’t put out any flags. Much of the paving in front and the west side was paid for by Del Shepard.