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Community service program builds boat

This past Tuesday, Aug. 6, a wooden sailboat was delivered to Dallas Lake Park, headquarters of the LaGrange County Parks Department.

     Jim Gust, director of community service for juveniles on probation in LaGrange County, built the boat with help from his community service participants. Judge Scott VanDerbeck acted as the trustee, putting the project into action by getting it approved by the LaGrange County Council and funding the building process through the David Rogers Fund.

     VanDerbeck and Gust worked together to purchase a kit for the boat construction, and the juveniles on probation helped to build it.

    Gust noted that the underage community service servers are always doing “a lot of good work for the county,” including the maintenance and caretaking of many of LaGrange County’s parks. They’ve been in cooperation with the county parks for years. Gust called the parks “great facilities” for youth and adults alike, and was grateful to “add to the value of life for citizens of LaGrange County.”

    Mike Metz, director of the LaGrange County Parks Department, received the boat with gratitude. Metz and County Naturalist Scott Beam discussed using the boat for the kids at the day camps that the park provides. The park may also begin offering a boat clinic, which would contribute to the safety of the lakes. The sailboat doubles as a rowboat, thanks to Ernie Schrock at Schrock Marine on Westler Lake, who provided the oars and oar docks. This provides the means for lessons in both sailing and rowing.

    Judge VanDerbeck was pleased to be a part of such a great project, explaining that he enjoys the “positive interactions of being a judge” such as this boat project, interactions that allow him to break from the pattern of criticism of juveniles on probation that his career inevitably requires.

    Mike Metz spoke for the LaGrange County Parks Department, saying the “park appreciates this donation and everything that Judge VanDerbeck and [Gust’s] service program have done over the years.”