Chesterton Tribune

Farmer Jim retires after years of helping children appreciate the animals at Chellberg Farm

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The professional staff of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore cooked and served the volunteers who work at the park a pancake dinner Saturday night, March 29 in the St. Patrick school gymnasium.

High point of the evening was a ceremony honoring the retirement of Farmer Jim Smiddy.

Farmer Jim first volunteered at the farm on plow days and when Jude Raskowski retired he became the park farmer. He officially retired earler this winter.

He was presented with a framed picture collage depicting work at the farm made by farm volunteers.

Cliff Goins, IDNS Volunteers In Park and Events Coordinator, said that volunteers contributed 37,613.5 hours of work to the park. In dollars and cents the work represents $646,576.07 or the pay of 19 full time park employees.

Goins particularly noted the work of a number of groups namely Caretakers of the Dunes and Dune Scopes 2475.5 hours; Junior Rangers 5432 hours; Visiter Center Front Desk Volunteers 2081 hours; Save the Tunes and other musical volunteers 778.5 hours; RM SCA interns (15 individuals) 6496 hours; Artists in Residence 277 hours, and Campground Hosts 2340 hours.

Introduced for working 250 hours were: Marguerite Domsic, Pat Majka, Mary Kay Majot, Dorothy Meyers, Roz Potter, Eileen Stewart, Jim Slamkowski, Sharon Webb and Peter Wilder.

Working 500 hours were: Alice Garba, Angel Gochee-Goins, Zella Olson, Steve and Kathy Wilder, Bob and Arlene Camarena and Robert Stoit. All told this group worked 1269.5 hours.

Goins awarded the Sap of the Season award to Zella Olson who due to the loss of a family member was unable to sign up as a Maple Syrup Time Volunteer. She took over the duty of offering hospitality to the volunteers on the two MST weekends.

She made homemade soup, muffins and cookies and kept the coffee pot full to warm up the working volunteers. She also gave breaks to the house workers. Goins thanked her for her good cooking, open mindedness and willingness to adapt to the changes.

Because of the cold weather during Maple Syrup Time not enough sap ran so no syrup was made. The volunteers received a bottle of syrup purchased from Eastern National. Attendence on the two MST weekends was 2141 a bit less than previous years due to the cold weather.

In order to get visitors and sap you have to have cool nights but nice warm sunny days.

Besides introducing and thanking the IDNLS staffers who cooked and served Goins thanked the table decoraters Kathy Wilder for the broom corn silt; Paul and Ann Singer for lye soap; Zella Olson and the Duneland Resale Shop for the yarn used and Goins’ mother-in-law Arlene Gochee for making the wash clothes that held the decorations togther. He especially thanked St. Patrick church for the use of the hall and Eastern National and John Roquet for donating the door prizes.

Among the staffers helping to serve was Costa Dillon, park superitendent who was kept busy serving the food and later spoke to the volunteers.


Posted 4/4/2008