Local student Devin Randolph’s memory will live on in the great outdoors thanks to a project undertaken by future Eagle Scout Felix Diaz.
To honor Randolph, who lost his life to suicide a year ago, Diaz, for his Eagle Scout project, wanted to add a water pump to the outdoor bicycle campground behind Central Baptist Church in Great Bend. Diaz and a host of others began work on that project, as well as other projects on the campground, Saturday morning.
Diaz said he has been working on the project since mid-September. Devin’s father, Delbert Randolph, and The Suicide Prevention Taskforce, part of the Central Kansas Partnership, provided the funds to complete the project. He felt a project like this was a way to honor Devin by bringing awareness to suicide and promoting suicide prevention.
Diaz said he wanted to honor Randolph’s love for outdoor activities, including biking and camping. When the project is completed, the well will include a sign honoring Devin Randolph’s life.
Delbert, who was another of the volunteers at the site Saturday, said when he first saw the area, he felt the well was a fitting way to honor Devin’s memory.
“Water is life-giving, and I wanted his memorial to be life-giving,” Delbert said. “The thought of travelers riding coast-to-coast and having a safe place where they can camp and refresh ... I can’t think of a better memorial for my son.”
Delbert, who is also Diaz’s former Scoutmaster, said the fact that Diaz used his Eagle Scout project to honor Devin’s memory made the project extra special for him.
With Great Bend having been included on the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail two years ago, as well as having been included as a stop in the Bike Across Kansas, Diaz said his hope was to offer cyclists crossing the state a chance to refresh and clean up during their stop in Great Bend. Donna Krug with the K-State Extension and Research - Cottonwood District said the hand-pump well was dug deeply enough to allow the water to be potable, so cyclists could refill before continuing along the trail.
Local driller Rosencrantz-Bemis Water Well Company donated their services over the weekend to drill the well, and will return later this weekend to install the full pump and complete the concrete work. MyLawn also donated time and equipment to help with the dirt work.
Aside from the well work, volunteers at the campground spent the morning cleaning up the campground and addressing other projects on the site. Krug said some of the dirt removed to dig the well will be used to create an elevated space for campers to use to keep their tents dry it times of storms and high-water.
A community effort
Krug said the project was an important one for promoting outdoor activity within the community and beyond.
“We’ve had people from many foreign countries and many states (camp at the site),” Krug noted.
The above-ground water pump is the latest of many projects done in conjunction with Central Baptist Church, who owns the land, to make the outdoor space a haven for cross-country cyclists. One of the church’s parishioners, for example, helped install a covered picnic shelter on the grounds. City of Great Bend Public Works Director Jason Cauley also volunteered his time to create a wood sign that now adorns the shelter, Krug noted. The church also partnered to put in a bike repair station at the site.
“People are just stepping up (to help). It’s been wonderful,” Krug said. “It’s just that real cool sense of community.”
Be Well Barton County, another task force under the Central Kansas Partnership, provided the funds for a kiosk and electrical re-charging station on the site, as well.
Volunteers also helped repair picnic tables on the site, which were initially in poor condition, Krug said.
In addition, Todd VanSkike from Golden Belt Bike Shop donated bike racks for use at the campground site.