by Bob Soukup, Assoc. AIA | LEED-AP
Carlson West Povondra Architects
On September 3-6, I was involved with a large volunteer effort to help build a new chapel at the Little Sioux Scout Ranch near Little Sioux, Iowa. On June 11, 2008, a tornado destroyed a large area of the Boy Scout camp and killed four boys. As a way to pay back the nation after the 9/11 attack on New York, a group of New York Fire Fighters came to Iowa for three days, along with 200 other volunteers from all over the nation, plus another 600 local volunteers. All the volunteers spent those three days working to rebuild the campground, in addition to building a new chapel. This chapel was constructed over the remaining floor slab from the cabin where the boys died.
I worked with the families of the four boys to design this chapel over the last eight months. Here are a few pictures of the chapel under construction. We still have some small details to finish on the chapel, but the major structural elements are in place. ABC World News Tonight carried a news story about the whole event.
Kristi Nohavec, AIA, The Clark Enersen Partners, also worked on the design of the chapel. Bill Stott, AIA, The Architectural Offices, volunteered his weekend clearing an area for a prairie restoration project. HDR; Leo A Daly; Nielsen, Mayne Architecture; and The Schemmer Associates Inc. have all been involved with the larger rebuilding effort by donating their design services for other new facilities at the camp.
The below note is from the founder of the New York Says Thank You Foundation and describes a little bit of what we accomplished last week. (Also, see their Web site.)
Note from Jeff Parness, The New York Says Thank You Foundation, dated September 11, 2009:
Last weekend, over 1,000 volunteers with The New York Says Thank You Foundation marched through the North Valley of the Little Sioux Iowa Scout Camp to a stand before a chapel built with timbers destroyed in a deadly tornado that took the lives of four young Eagle Scouts and forever changed the lives of dozens of young boys and their parents on the night of June 11, 2008. And as the young scouts who survived that deadly tornado marched shoulder to shoulder with FDNY firefighters who survived 9/11, the mother of Ben Petrzilka looked out at the gathering of New Yorkers and disaster survivors who had come to Little Sioux from across the United States and proclaimed: “Thank you for coming into our darkness to pull us into your light.” It was a moment none of us will ever forget.
As we honor the memory of all those who were lost eight years ago today, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for enabling us to also honor the kindness and humanity we experienced as New Yorkers and as a nation on 9/12. New York Says Thank You has truly become an Army of LOVE.
Tonight the efforts of our volunteers will be recognized nationally as “Persons of the Week” on ABC World News Tonight and numerous local TV reports.
Thank you for sharing our story with your friends, families, and colleagues today by forwarding this e-mail to those who are looking for a meaningful way to recognize the eighth Anniversary of 9/11. And thank you once again for your continuing support to allow us to reach our stated objective: From one day of terror, 10 years of Kindness.
Reprinted from Nebraska Architect.