Delta Junction-area volunteers completed repairs last week to a gazebo at the city cemetery that was damaged by vandals two weeks ago. The volunteers who rebuilt the structure say their work was a show of community solidarity.
It only took a couple of days for Delta residents to step forward and volunteer to fix damage at the Rest Haven Cemetery that was inflicted by a vandal’s pickup, which smashed through fencing and rammed the gazebo during a late-night joyride on Aug. 17th.
Most of the gazebo-project volunteers were with Bering-Kaya Support Services, or BKSS, the base-operations contractor at Fort Greely.
BKSS site manager Ramsay Pryce says they all agreed it was just the right thing to do, as members of the community.
“We employ about 150 Delta residents,” he said, “and so any issue or incident that affects the community of Delta, since we’re part of the community, also affects us.”
The gazebo was built in 2008 by a Delta youth for his Eagle Scout project. And Pryce says he did a good job.
“The young man who built it actually built it very well,” he said. “It was a solid structure.”
Pryce says the gazebo roof and its foundation withstood the impact pretty well. He says the couple dozen BKSS employees and some family members invested about 20 hours of work in rebuilding the frame. Using donated materials and equipment, including a crane, Bobcat and operators from local electrical contractor Morley Electric, they rebuilt the frame, set the roof back down on it and reattached it.
Pryce says the structure is now strong once again, like the community spirit that motivated the volunteers.
“The damage that done to the gazebo, as far as we were concerned, was almost unconscionable,” he said. “So it was a labor of love on our part to go out and restore the gazebo, so it would stand as a testimony to the strength of our community.”
Meanwhile, Alaska State Troopers continue their investigation into the incident. Troopers say they’ve identified the vehicle, based on chunks of debris left at the cemetery and other evidence. They say it's a maroon-colored 1997 Ford F-150 flatbed, bearing Alaska license plate number FJD 822.
Troopers reportedly also have identified suspects, but aren’t releasing that information while the investigation is ongoing. They’re asking anyone with any information about the incident to give them a call.