Dean Park Commissioners and Friends of Dean Park, Inc, sponsor an event for two purposes.
The group sponsored an appreciation fish fry for the Minnonites and the first Response Team of American who helped to clear Dean Park of trees and debris from the tornado that devastated Winston County on April 28, 2014.
The event was a kick-off for a special project to renovate the Dean Park concession stand in memory of Ruth Eichelberger Bennett – a hero who is credited with saving the life of 4 year old Ashtyn Mitchell during the tornado of April 28, 2014.
The event was June 11, 2014, in the Dean Park commissioners and friends of Dean Park, inc. hosted a fish fry luncheon to show appreciation to the mennonites and the First Response Team of America for a job well done in clearing Dean Park of the many pine trees that were uprooted during the tornado of April 28, 2014.
Tad Skylar Agoglia, chairman and CEO of first response team of american was the firs responder to come to Dean Park two days after the tornado.
He will not be present but the Friends hope he is watching and reading to see the appreciation.
The mennonites came after the first response team left and completed the job at the park completing their work there on June 5, 2014.
Melvin Stomps, 23 year old man from Pennsylvania, was the manager at Dean Park and in the surrounding Center Ridge community. Both groups cut the pines into logs, piled them and the debris for the contractors to pick up. and the school district to haul the logs out. Dean Park is on 16 section land and the timbers belong to the school board.
Also, at the same time, the FODP kicked off their special project to renovate the dean park concession stand in memory of Ruth Eichelberger-Bennett.
Ruth Eichelberger-Bennett was the owner of Ms. Ruth Day Care Center. She lost her life while clutching a 4 year old child who is still alive after several weeks of hospitalization. Many believe that she saved the child’s life; therefore, she is considered one of the heroes during the tornado.
Dean Park is a historical park in the Center Ridge community. It was once the 4-H Negro youth park which was founded in 1946 by Milton E. Dean, the county agent. It was turned over to Winston County for management.
This renovation project is funded by the appalachian community learning project in the amount of $3,000. The matching funds are being raised by the FODP. the project is expected to be completed by July 31, 2014 and grand opening planned for August 12, 2014
The renovation of the concession stand will include adding cabinets and appliances with a mural of Mrs. Eichelberger-Bennett and Ashtyn Mitchell, the 4 year old, painted on the outside and titled Mrs. Ruth’s babies’ concession stand. Mrs. Ruth’s day care was known to be one of the best in the city.
Mrs. Ruth called all of the children her babies and treated them, their parents, her staff and visitors with dignity and respect.
Mayor Will Hill was their guest speaker at a formal dinner annually as Mrs. Ruth used the occasion to teach “her babies” proper etiquette.
FODP goal in doing this project is
- to increase attendance at the park
- to increase usage of the concession stand
- to increase revenue to the park by renting the concession stand
- to increase volunteers at the park
- to increase membership in fodp which is $10 annually