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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Bench project ongoing

Sunday, March 27, 2011

George Kumpf
One man's desire to purchase a memorial bench in memory of his late parents turned into a "vision" that is benefiting the entire Clay County community.

George Kumpf is spearheading a project to replace all the park benches in Forest Park's band shell.

After his mother's death three years ago, Kumpf decided to make a memorial for his late parents, Thelma and Carl Kumpf.

"My father was the director of the Jackson Township band. He (Carl) played trumpet. My family also had a lot of 4th of July memories with the Brazil band. I played baritone since 1956 when I was 12 years old, and my mother would go to see the Brazil band every Sunday night," said Kumpf.

After buying one bench, Kumpf asked the Brazil Park Board if he could turn his idea into a community project, and the board agreed.

"He came up with a vision," Brazil Park Board President Ruthann Jeffries said. "When George first suggested this idea to us (the park board), I didn't think there was any way it was going to happen with the economy like it is and a poor community."

The first year, Kumpf persuaded 162 community members or groups to purchase benches. Currently, there are about 15 benches still available. Each costs $500 and is tax deductible.

"The park has just meant a lot to them (my parents), and those wooden benches were pretty uncomfortable," Kumpf said.

Clay County Parks Association Treasurer and Riddell Bank representative Kathy White is in charge of the money for the benches.

The benches have been purchased by previous high school graduating classes from Northview High School, REMC, Duke Energy and community members memorializing loved ones.

"We haven't had to pay a dime for any of this. George has donated money for the salaries," Jeffries said.

"Our finances are limited. If it weren't for someone being willing to come forward, then this could never happen. We have to depend on the community."

Kumpf's project is also helping Brazil City Parks Superintendent Bill Houck.

Houck said he used to spend three months during the winter building 25 benches every year because people would steal or vandalize the benches or they would begin to age.

"It's fantastic," said Houck.

Houck added rebuilding the benches used to cost the parks department $2,000, but the new benches are made with recycled plastic. When workers install the benches they screw them into the ground using the same screws used to secure mobile homes. This eliminates the possibility of theft and vandalism.

Brazil City Parks Superintendent Bill Houch and Brazil Park Board President Ruthann Jeffries relax on the first recycled plastic bench added to the Brazil band shell audience. George Kumpf bought this bench in memory of his late parents, Carl and Thelma. [Order this photo]
"It's a tribute to the community," said Kumpf. "And it shows the Brazil band how much they are valued and appreciated,"

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Thank you very much Mr. Kumpf for your efforts. It has made the bandshell area look very nice. Now if someone, or a group of someones could step forward and do some landscaping. At one time that was nice looking too.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Mon, Mar 28, 2011, at 7:20 AM

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