From the moment I volunteered to install landscaping around our Historic Pump House, and now with the inclusion of restoring the Pump House building itself, I’ve been so impressed with the Community Spirit that has emerged around this project. Sometimes all you have to do is ask, and people will help. My educational background is in Psychology, and I’ve always been fascinated with people and their behavior. I believe that if you put your mind to something, it can happen, no matter what others might think. Don't let others tell you can't do something, you can!
I’ve been so humbled by the amont of support the Pump House restoration project from the residents of Oregon. When the Oregon Observer first ran the story about the landscaping project, and then the restoration efforts of the Pump House, several people contacted me wanting help. I received a call from a woman who said her mother and father were long-time residents of Oregon, and had passed away. She read about the landscape and restoration projects, and wanted to donated something in honor of her mother and father. After a few conversations, she decided a new bench incorporated into the landscaping would be nice. The bench is now in the plan.
Others neighbors within the Village have come up to me and pledged to use some their carpentry or gardening skills. As the word gets out, I receive more and more inquiries about residents wanting to help. They ask, what can I do. Right now I tell them we need funds to accomplish the necessary repairs to the Pump House.
We I decided to go forward with organizing the restoration efforts, I felt compelled to do something myself to help raise funds. In the past few years, I’ve become a stained glass maker. I called the owner of the Firefly and asked if I might display a few pieces of my art glass in order to donate the proceeds toward the Pump House project. I had three on display, and all sold within a few weeks. I was able to add to a fund that had been started several years ago, I donated a $1,000 from the stained glass sales.
I had contacted Scott Meier, who is a local developer, to help me assess what the Pump House building needed in terms of repairs, and what it would cost for the repairs. Scott grew up just a stones throw away from the Pump House and Water Tower, and so Scott has been an invaluable partner of the project. Another great partner has been Judy Knutson of the Oregon Chamber. Judy has given invaluable advice, and provided tireless help with my efforts to raise more funds.
As I tried to reach out to the business community, I sent letters, more letters, and emails to local business owners trying to get them involved in the project. One couple I was able to meet with was Bonnie and Jerry Thiel of Mason’s on Main. From the moment we met, I knew we would become friends because we shared the same passion for historic buildings. One look at the Mason’s on Main restoration, and it’s very evident of their commitment to saving and reusing old buildings. A few weeks ago, we had our first fundraiser at Mason’s, and Bonnie and Jerry provided some wonderful food & drink in a beautiful example of what a good restoration can look like. We were also very lucky to have local businesses like Senor Peppers, Bergey Jewelry, Bill’s Food Center, Pizza Hut, DeBroux Diner, the Firefly, Peaceful Heart, & Academy of Sound donate items we auctioned off in a silent auction. We collected $1,350 in a few hours. The people who came were amazing. Many of them got to the tour the Pump House for the first time.
I also want to mention how helpful the Oregon Senior Center, and Alison the Director have been over the past few months. Alison has been putting in a article about the Pump House restoration in the Senior Center Newsletter, and she let me put up a display at the center about the project. As a result, we have received donations from as far away as Iowa and Illinois, from seniors who once lived in Oregon. The person who made a donation from Illinois wrote me a note that said the following: I am enclosing $25 to the Historic Water Tower restoration. I lived in Oregon the first 22 years of my life. My dad had a jewelry store in town for 50 years. Good luck on your endeavors”
All the examples I listed above show what type of community spirit Oregonian's have. I’m so impressed with all the help residents have given in response to the Pump House project. I’m very lucky to have moved to Oregon from Madison last year. There are many other stories I could tell about the kindness and generosity I’ve encountered as we continue to move forward with the restoration of the Pump House, but I will stop here for now.