Lindbergh State Park receives new fire pits, thanks to Leadership Lindyland participants

Thanks to the hard work of the 2012 Leadership Lindyland participants, 23 new fire rings were added to Lindbergh State Park Thursday.

The 15 people who took the leadership-building, eight-month class, needed a service project to graduate. They all agreed that collecting teddy bears and making fleece blankets for all law enforcement throughout Morrison County was a great idea. But, that project, they decided, was not enough; they needed more to do. Something that would impact the area for a long time.

Members of the 2012 Leadership Lindyland worked on their community project: adding new and improved fire rings to Lindbergh State Park in Little Falls. Pictured above are (from left): Jeff Stumpf from GoldSmith Jewelers, Manager of Lindbergh State Park Ty Gangelhoff, Becky Gaffke from Randall State Insurance and Park Specialist and Operations Supervisor Colin Wright. Pictured below is the old fire pit graveyard, with discarded rings waiting to be hauled away.

Gina Vetter of the Little Falls Chamber of Commerce said the group decided Lindbergh State Park would be a great place to expend their energies and show their talents. Ty Gangelhoff, the park manager, told the group the park needed new fire pits.

The project was born.

The rings, purchased through the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), are handicapped accessible. They each have a double fire wall/heat shield which keeps the outside wall of the unit fairly cool. The grill pivots over and away from the actual fire, and the  grill’s handle is never over the fire, lessening the chance of burns. The fire rings are taller than the old ones, helping to deter people from tripping over them and receiving burns.

“Leadership Lindyland had a goal of raising $3,000 and the group finished by raising $4,471 for this project,” said Gangelhoff. “They purchased 23 fire rings to replace the worst of the 43 rings in the park.”

As the other old fire rings age, they will be replaced through Legacy Funds or DNR money. The DNR will be replacing fire pits as needed and when funds are available throughout the state.

As a member of Leadership Lindyland, Jeff Stumpf of GoldSmith Jewelers said he learned a lot about the community and its businesses. He said the program helps build leadership within the community. It also helped him to feel more comfortable about speaking to groups.

Another participant, Becky Gaffke of Randall State Insurance said she now has more confidence about volunteering. That the eight-month program had each one of them step outside their comfort zone and do things they wouldn’t do usually.

“We learned a lot about each other, too,” she said.

Other members of the 2012 Leadership Lindyland program included Paula Anderson, Morrison County Public Health; Brian Bernander, St. Otto’s Care Center; Michelle Henifin, Horizon Health; Trisha Herdering, Century 21 New Horizons Realty; Paula Hurni, Morrison County Social Services; Katie Kaufman, Mid Minnesota Federal Credit Union; Mary Kline, Unity Family Healthcare; Tim Matros, Eldercare of Minnesota; Linda Meemken, Royalton Lumber; Mike Piotrowski; Ashley Posterick, Schlenner Wenner and Company; Deanna Thompson, Hands of Hope Resource Center; and Jay Vasek, Comfort Keepers.