ACROSS THE POND VETERANS PARK RECEIVES DONATION
An Iron River native, Robert Buran (Bob or Bobby to his friends and family here), through his company, Information Systems Solutions, Inc. (ISSI), has donated the funds needed to place benches along the quarter mile pedestrian trail at the park. Bob and his wife, Linda Houk, CEO of ISSI, are both retired career US Air Force officers. When asked what focus she wants their company to be credited, Linda said that “We support the war-fighter”. ISSI is providing real time information and intelligence to military personnel on the ground. This is accomplished through their company having their employees placed strategically around the world and the ability to deploy technical assistance as needed to accomplish their mission.
Veteran initiatives are a priority with ISSI and each year, they donate to veteran causes around the country and have some specific organizations that they will match their employees’ donations. Linda is a volunteer instructor with the National Institute for Procurement (http://nationalvip.org). This program teaches veterans how to be entrepreneurs in the Federal marketplace. Bob and Linda are very successful and their impressive accomplishments can be viewed on the company’s website – www.issits.com.
The project being funded by ISSI is the placement of benches along the trail. The trail was funded in part by a grant from the Green Bay Packer Foundation and generally referred to as the “Packer Trail” by the Park Board of Directors. It is for pedestrians and those with personal mobility devices only. The benches will provide stops along the way for those who need a breather or just to sit and enjoy the natural setting. This project will be one of the first on the schedule for 2022. Another funded project for the Spring is the installation of the “Vietnam Memorial” that was designed, made and donated by the artist. The installation for the outdoor sculpture is funded by a grant from the Green Bay Packer Foundation. Plans call for a memorial for each conflict our veterans have served and sacrificed fighting. These will be done as they are donated and/or funded. A spot in the park is already reserved for each one.
Last year’s completed projects included the dedication of the Circle of Flags and the Honor Wall with 150 tiles installed honoring veterans. Electrical power was installed and connected so now our Circle of Flags, parking areas and Honor Wall are lighted properly. It is only through the generosity of donations, grants and fund-raisers that Across the Pond Veterans Park is being built. Our major fund-raiser for 2022 is a Cash Raffle and tickets are now available. 1st Prize is $5,000. There are 10 prizes total of varying dollar amounts. Donation is $50 per ticket and the drawing will be 7:00 PM November 5, 2022, at the Honors Banquet, Iron River Community Center. Across the Pond Veterans Park is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization.
All park projects are being built to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) specifications. The Park is for everyone and especially for those who may need these additional amenities to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. Park projects yet to be funded are RV and tent campsites, bathroom building with laundry, water well, switch-back trail to waterfront, dock, playground, picnic areas and paved driveway and parking areas. Landscaping will be done when everything else is completed.
Our next public event will be Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 28, 2022. Again, the new Honor Wall tiles that have been ordered will be revealed. Also, pavers that have been ordered will also be placed and ready for viewing. We hope to have our “Trail Bench Project” completed by then and the Vietnam Memorial installed. There have been other donations for a bench and these will be placed around the park.
February 1st is the cut-off date this year to order a tile honoring a veteran for the Honor Wall. The manufacturing, receipt and installation of the tiles lead time is significant. Orders can be placed online at www.donationbricks.com/acrossthepondveteranspark or for a form, please call Ray at 715-372-4654 or Joyce at 715-372-4324. Also call if you want information about a paver donation or form. Pavers have 4 different sponsorship levels beginning at $300.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the building of Across the Pond Veterans Park. The Board of Directors is all volunteer, made up of veterans and non-veterans. Roger Johnson, Board volunteer, 715-372-8340, oversees and manages all the construction projects and the volunteers who donate their time, talents and materials. Give Roger a call if you would like to be part of this great endeavor – all skill levels are needed and valued.