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Teamwork sparks Doerr-Vernon Park work
Fort shapes shape
By Jim Misunas The Fort structure is starting to take shape at Doerr-Vernon Park.

LARNED — Jim Vratil of Larned saw how teamwork transformed a challenging task on a construction job that everyone was proud of.
Vratil was part of a four-man leadership team that started construction on a Fort Larned structure Saturday and Sunday at the Doerr-Vernon Park. By the end of the weekend, four separate concrete blocks were covered by four connecting wooden structures.
Leon Sanders drafted the architect’s plans and the group visited Wilson and saw photos of a similar structure at Lincoln. There was plenty of pre-planning that made the weekend work go smoothly.
“It was like building a house in a weekend. It was truly amazing to see how much was done in a very short time,” Vratil said. “Everyone was very helpful. There were electricians, plumbers and construction crews donating their time.”
Team leaders Vratil, Richard Deckert and the father-son team of Galen Hewson and Adam Hewson are members of the Noon Lions Club.
A 10-hour day Saturday was followed by six hours of time Sunday.
“It’s a complicated job. We had a lot of hours prep time to make sure we had everything well planned,” he said.
“We had a lot of volunteers from groups like 4-H and the Kiwanis who provided great assistance,” he said.
Vratil said stairways and slides still must be constructed.
The biggest assist came from David Woods of Woods Alfalfa Hay Company. Woods supplied a telehandler, a versatile forklift capable of lifting a 6,000-pound load. The telehandler typically moves 5,000-pound loads of ha. So, lifting a 1,000-pound section of roofing 13 feet high was no problem.
“It was a pleasure to help them,” Woods said. “It was a tight area to work in, but we got it done.”    
Angie Murray, Larned Pride organizer, said more than 100 volunteers participated Saturday and Sunday.
“It was a sight to see those guys raise four roofs with everyone helping,” she said. “The park looks better every day and everything has gone really well.”
The final public work weekend is scheduled April 30 and May 1 at Doerr-Vernon Park. Various work crews will continue work during the next few weeks.
A Larned High tennis crew will repaint the tennis courts this week. More concrete will be poured for the Splash Pad and sidewalks by Eakin Construction and the city of Larned. 
A $125,000 Kansas Department of Commerce Small Communities Improvement Program grant pays for materials. Doerr-Vernon Park is being transformed into a Splash Pad featuring a Fort Larned Frontier theme. Donated labor and equipment is required to be 40 percent of the project.