Tag Archives: Westbrook Park

Childhood Experience Sparks Volunteerism

As a 39 year old native of DeWitt,  I grew here doing the same things that kids today do – school and sports.  I think I was 5 or 6 years old when we had a chimney fire at our house one evening.  My sister and I were sent across the street to our neighbor’s house.  I remember watching out the window in amazement at all the fire trucks and firefighters working to put out the fire and making sure things were safe for us again.  Not long after that my father decided to become a member of the DeWitt Volunteer Fire Department, where he is still a member of 33 years.

Fast forward to 2006.  My wife Jodee and I had our first girl, Hannah.  It was then that I decided it was time for me to give back to the community that had taken care of me so well.  I became a member of the DeWitt Volunteer Fire Department as well in October of 2006.  In addition to Hannah, we have Hailee who is 7 and Jack who is 3.  Our kids love the fact that I am a volunteer firefighter.  They get to do things that a lot of other kids don’t get a chance to do like ride in the fire trucks during parades and going up to the fire station at any time.  Sometimes they want to bring their friends along! Each summer there is a family picnic at Westbrook Park that our kids look forward to just as I did when I was young.

My wife and I have had the pleasure of getting to know a whole new “family” with the fire department.  Most of the people we probably would not have even met and become so close had I not decided to join.

We are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  Let me put that into perspective; we don’t get a day off.  When that pager goes off, you react and respond.  It may be at night when we are sleeping, during the day while at work or even while attending Church.  We don’t get to choose when it goes off.   I  have missed family dinners, birthday parties, weddings and work.  But it is all worth it.  When you see that look of terror in a stranger’s eye when you show up and the relief when you leave, that’s when it hits you.  We made a difference.  We made a positive impact on that person’s life.

During the first year of membership a new firefighter is required to be FireFighter 1 certified.  That is a 120 hour course and a passing grade on a written and hands on exam to get the certification.  Firefighter 1 teaches the basic firefighting fundamentals that are essential to the job.  The state of Iowa also requires 24 hours of training each year for volunteer firefighters.  Our department has 2 1/2 trainings each month on the 4th Monday of the month.  There are times when it is hard to find that balance of being a good father, husband and have a full time job, but with great support from my wife and kids, we manage.

Being a member of the DeWitt Volunteer Fire Department makes me feel like I can give back to my community.  It gives me great pride that I am a small part of our 30 person department.  We all feel like we can be positive roll models for our own kids as well as all the kids in our community.  We are very fortunate to have the support that everyone provides.  We have awesome equipment, a great group of firefighters and the best community around!

I would encourage everyone to not hesitate to volunteer for anything you feel passionate about, whether it be coaching youth sports or a 4H volunteer, there is always room for more volunteers.  Without volunteers our community could not deliver the opportunities that we offer!  If anyone has any interest in becoming part of the DeWitt Volunteer Fire Department you may talk to me or any of the other 29 members.

Jeff Peters, DeWitt Resident & Proud Volunteer for the DeWitt Fire Department

Bridging the Future at Westbrook

The community is buzzing with great reviews regarding the new bridge on the Paul Skeffington Memorial Trail. The bridge now carries walkers, runners, dogs, bikers, disc golfers, mountain bikers and hikers across Silver Creek at Westbrook Park. It is situated east of the old bridge location and at a higher elevation, keeping tree debris from accumulating during floods as it previously was under the 100-year flood elevation.

The new precast concrete construction consists a partial realignment of the bridge approach, a 10’ wide 75’ double tee pedestrian span and a height that reaches 6 to 8 feet higher than the previous bridge.  The width of the bridge allows for easy snow removal which will grant easy access to the trail during the winter months.

The original bid for construction was $240,879.50 from Ritmer Inc. of DeWitt, but the start of the bridge project was initially delayed due to the necessity of a wetland delineation, resolving Indiana Bat Habitat issues, and working to comply with IDNR regulations. In the end, the cost of the project – including legal, administrative fees, engineering and construction – totaled $292,342.24. The bridge project was designed and engineered by IIW Engineers & Surveyors PC.

The new bridge is a tremendous addition to Westbrook Park. Everyone is invited to enjoy the Paul Skeffington Memorial Trail and check it out.  The bridge was made possible by funds from: City of DeWitt, Clinton County Development Association, and Paul Skeffington Memorial Race Committee.

DeWitt Delivers Recreation!

 

Get Lost in DeWitt…

P1120961webA clear, brisk night and Lincoln Park is donned with pumpkins, hay bales, and all things autumn.  You can grab a sweet or savory crepe, barbeque pork chop, or pulled pork sandwich while listening to the band Soul Storm playing in the band shell.  My daughter and all her friends dash for the bounce houses, games, pedal tractor pull, or the “green park” where they run into their school friends and convene their playtime and socializing.  The first weekend in October was Autumn Fest in DeWitt and because autumn is the “most wonderful time of the year” for me, I was glad it had been rescheduled from the cold and rainy date weeks earlier.  The yearly event is just one of the many ways to “get lost” in the happiness of the community and the laughter with friends and family.

October in DeWitt is also a perfect time to get out and enjoy the colors.  If you’re an outdoor person, I know you can appreciate DeWitt as much as I do.  From Springbrook Country Club to Westbrook and Lincoln Park, to all the little streets in between…the trees are just beginning their transformations !

In wanting to find the perfect tree for this post I pulled into Westbrook early one morning planning to jump out and take a quick photo of a tree near the beginning of the Paul Skeffington Trail.  It was beautiful…but wait, what’s that around the corner?  And over the bridge, and down the trail…I found myself walking the entire length of Westbrook taking pictures around every turn.  It was dewy and foggy but the sun was just beginning to shine through in hidden spots.  I hadn’t grabbed my phone or car keys, all I had were my walking shoes and camera and it was glorious.  Of course I met familiar facesP1120907web along the way, as this is DeWitt, and most greeted me with a friendly “Whatcha up to?” in seeing the camera on my shoulder, and then in turn, discussing what a gorgeous morning it was.  And that, my friends, is what I love about DeWitt.  By the time I got back to my car I had missed two calls from work and had forgotten about a repairman that was on his way to the house to fix our garage door.  But I was happy I had gotten “lost in DeWitt” for just an hour.  I hope you’ll notice the autumn beauty on your way to work, school or maybe on your morning run or evening walk.  Here was my favorite photo from my Westbrook morning!

Lisa LeConte, DeWitt Resident and Mother