Fred and Karen Wickman, Jamie and Sara Gordon and Gunner and Kris Gibson are members of the Prospect community who are not about to forget the contribution that veterans have made to this country.
It all began some time back when one community member had to travel to the Portland VA hospital for treatment. This veteran, like lots of others around the area and the country, didn’t have reliable transportation and the bus schedules didn’t match up with what he needed. Turns out that another person had a good car, but no money for gas. Then a third stepped up with cash for the gas and the veteran was able to get to his much needed treatment. Had it not been for that communication between members of the community, it’s likely that the man would have gone untreated and his health could have deteriorated rapidly.
That’s when the Wickmans, Gordons and Gibsons (Mill Creek Memorial) decided to look into the situation. What they found was that there are at least 65 veterans living in Prospect that are registered with the VA in White City. That’s an astounding number, given that the population of the area is something like 600 people. And that’s just the ones that are registered, many others are not.
So the group, seeing the need, decided to do something about it. From that seed was born the idea for the fund raiser connected to a parade and a community event.
The event, held on Saturday, May 26 this year, drew folks from around the area and many from Medford and points beyond. The parade kicked off the event calendar, while vendors served the regular shaved ice, and biscuits and gravy and other delectables. Others hawked their wares and there was an incredible display of hand made trains, cats, dozers, skidders and a number of mechanical devices, all made of wood. Even a microscope that fascinated kids and parents alike.
The parade featured antique and collectable cars, fire apparatus, the beds that were destined for the race and a Bald Eagle. The live eagle was a hit, especially with the children, who crowded around to have their picture taken with the symbol of the country. This particular eagle, raised in captivity, cannot be released into the wild for fear it would be unable to care for itself. It was displayed by Wildlife Images of Grants Pass.
The theme of the weekend and the motto of the Mill Creek Memorial is to honor, aid and assist veterans. As Fred Wickman says, “many of the vets are too proud to ask for help, even if it means they go hungry or cannot get to needed medical treatment.” Fred says that when a nation owes so much to veterans, we should do everything possible to help them out.
Monies are raised through events such as the bed race, from the booth space they rent at the Memorial weekend event and through many community dinners during the year. Winners of the bed race donated the $400 gift certificate to the Prospect football team. That group also won the certificate for the parade entry and donated a pontoon trip to the football team.
As with any fund-raiser, there is always work to be done, and Fred Wickman says they could use more help. The entire weekend event was orchestrated by the six people on the Board.
Two very important things. The Mill Creek Memorial accepts requests from honorary discharged vets and registration is available at the hotel or at the sheriff substation in town. Donations of cash are also accepted at those two places.
This is the third year of the event, and Wickman says that new things always start slow, but begin to pick up speed with each passing year. If this year’s well attended event was any indication, next year should be a dandy.
http://youtu.be/hFgZr3ezUt4 will take you to a you tube video of the race, http://youtu.be/9RSRYp5SV5c will take you to a you tube slide show of the parade.