The Garwin City Park popcorn stand was dedicated recently in honor of a man whose commitment to the community may have been a cut above the rest.
"Merle [Parks] did so much for the town with his carpentry [work] and it was his plan for the popcorn stand. His health prohibited him from doing the physical work but he was the driving force and it was completed with volunteer labor. He also spent countless hours working on the Garwin Shelter House. Merle was very involved in the community of Garwin. He was a member of the Lions, St. Boniface Catholic Church, served on the school board and the Revitalization Committee. And he was the father of 10 children," said community member Ron Smith.
The idea of the dedication was brought up at a recently city council meeting. Following the council's support and approval, Steve Aldrich donated a cross-cut of native lumber for the sign. Parks had acquired a lot of his lumber for his carpentry projects from Aldrich.
The children of the late Merle Parks are pictured gathered with their Mother in front of the popcorn stand in Garwin City Park. The stand was recently dedicated “In Memory of Merle Parks,” who was the main “push” behind getting the stand constructed. Pictured from left, are Mary Boege of Garwin; Anne Barloon of Garwin, Paul Parks of Sycamore, Ill.; Les Parks of Garwin; Carol Parks of Garwin; Terri Goos of West Liberty; Karen Roseland of Le Grand; Susie Strohbehn of Gladbrook and Joe Parks of Garwin. Two children were unable to attend the dedication: Glen Parks of Sandwich, Ill., and Denny Parks of Oskaloosa.
The inscribed plaque was done via laser and features a hand saw and a square. The plaque is mounted on the north side of the popcorn stand. Inside the stand there is a plaque with the names of all family and volunteers who worked on the project.
Parks passed away suddenly at his home in April of 2013.
"We are very proud of the way the stand turned out," said Smith. "The Legion and church ladies use it every Wednesday night to serve the popcorn and pie and ice cream. We have been having a very large crowd for the Wednesday night entertainment. Plumbing and plenty of electrical outlets have been installed. Entertainment will be held through the end of August and the building will be closed for the season."
Eight of Parks' 10 children were in attendance for the dedication, as was his widow, Carol.