The following article was written by Colleen Johnson, an amazing woman who puts together The Brunswicker, the local weekly, as well as works on the Chamber of Commerce, the Brunswick Revitalization Committee and was hosting the Trail walkers on their stay in Brunswick. She combines all these events into one great piece of local small town journalism.
Vol. 164 – No. 21
Thursday, May 24, 2012
"When we say “welcome” we really mean it!"
By Colleen Johnson
Brunswick visitors came in many shapes and sizes and with many cultural backgrounds last week, all with a single goal… creating a more unified society with a social conscience for Mother Earth.
Thirteen Native Americans arrived in Brunswick on Wednesday, May 16. The group was walking along the Trail of Death on a trek to Washington D.C., to gain support in stopping the desecration of sacred ground, the Wakarusa Wetlands, close to their college campus near Lawrence, Kansas. Millie Pepion was coordinator for the group and was accompanied by her Uncle Stanley as well as college students from Haskell Indian University, University of Kansas and Brown University. The group camped at Herring Memorial Park for three nights and visited the Brunswick Nursing Home, the DeWitt Community Club, the Brunswick Area Library and did a memorial service at the Potawatomi Historic Marker at the Brunswick River Access before moving on to their next destination.
Those in Brunswick who helped make their stay here more enjoyable were The Brunswick Area Chamber of Commerce, who provided brunch for the group on Thursday morning; Mayor Jerry Calvert who provided wood for their fire and part of their dinner on Thursday evening; Sherry Hamilton, who donated two pecan pies; an area resident, Jo, who gave them venison burgers and buns, Vicki and James Spence who sent large garden salad and iced tea; Joe Ellen Newsom, chocolate chip cookies, Don and Mary Riddle, ceremonial bundles; Brunswick Distributing Company, non-alcoholic beverages; volunteers with River Relief who invited them to a barbeque at the River Access on Friday evening; and I provided showers and laundry facilities. Residents that attended the memorial service contributed cash to help the group with travel expenses such as gas and camp site rentals. If I have missed anyone, it was not intentional, so let me know.
The grateful students wanted to repay the community by helping out with projects. Singers provided guitar music and songs at the nursing home and the memorial service; strong young men mulched the trees at the park and along Highway 24; they helped out with scouting the river with River Relief and the “chef” in the group helped at Sherry’s Restaurant on Friday evening. I enjoyed a concert at my home when one of the young men sat down at the piano and played some classical music that he had composed. He didn’t read music but just played from his heart. What a treat!
Volunteers from River Relief arrived in Brunswick on Friday, and camped at the river access. Saturday found around 105 volunteers at the River Access. A great lunch of sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks was served by the Brunswick Girl Scout troop. A lot of the other food was provided for the visitors by Penny Gladbach, Jim Lynch and other members of the community. Following is a list of sponsors and partners who were recognized by organizers of River Relief: Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, Missouri American Water Company, Missouri Department of Conservation, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (Ecological Services Field Office), AgriServices of Brunswick River Terminal, Brunswick Bait & Tackle, The Brunswicker, Brunswick Redevelopment & Revitalization Committee, Brunswick High School, City of Brunswick, Girl Scout Troop #70835, MDC Missouri River Unit, Missouri Department of Natural Resources Lower Grand River, Missouri Stream Team, Missouri Stream Team Watershed Coalition. Prizes were given for The Weirdest Trash, Most Artistic Trash, Best Animal Find, Biggest Trash, Most Fashionable Trash, Oldest Trash, and Most Useful Trash.
While volunteers enjoyed lunch, Mary Culler, Environmental Specialist, gave a talk on the Missouri Waters Lower Grand River WatershedInitiative. Brunswick is in the lower part of a large acreage of watershed from above. Culler is with the Department of Natural Resources who is doing a study on the impact of watershed in the lower Grand River area.
Items of trash that littered the shoreline of the Grand/Missouri Rivers ranged from a soccer ball to several refrigerators and a truck load of discarded tires. River Relief and community volunteers definitely left the rivers looking better than when they came. Steve Schnarr, Program Manager for Missouri River Relief, did a super job of organizing the event and was pleased with the turn-out of volunteers.
Working together – what a novel idea! We can only hope that this trend continues for the good of the Brunswick community and surrounding area. We must be on the right track because I heard nothing but good comments about the community and Brunswick citizens.