By Vinde Wells
Just when Hands On Oregon (HOO) was running short on funds, an anonymous donor came through with a sizable contribution.
HOO Board member Rick Ryland said Monday that just under $100 remained in the fund earmarked for making repairs to Conover Square.
However, when he checked the bank balance another $15,000 was there.
“I said ‘where did that come from?’” Ryland said with a smile.
He soon learned it had come from a donor who wishes to remain unnamed.
Ryland and fellow board member Jeff Hallock met with Conover owner Lou Vander Wyst and decided to make Conover Square the organization’s first project.
HOO began helping Conover owner Lou Vander Wyst last December with shoring up the sagging south side of the former piano factory on the bank of the Rock River.
Once finished, a mural, called Love Our Flag, will be placed on the outside of the wall with an American flag painted on the eastern third, a large vertical sun dial in the middle, and on the west end a large heart with the word Oregon in capital letters underneath.
The west part of the wall will also be a place for donors to be recognized for helping to preserve Conover Square.
Their names and logos will be displayed on spaces reflecting the amount of their donations.
The anonymous donor will get a proportionately large space.
“Because the contribution to Love Our Flag is so generous and so appreciated we will recognize the donor by giving the diamond space of 48 x 48 inches on the wall with the name Anonymous Donor,” Ryland said.
HOO has partnered with the Blackhawk Hills Regional Council to use its 501c3 (not-for-profit) credentials while working to get their own.
Ryland said in December that he hoped to raise $100,000 through donations to finish the wall.
The HOO board has been seeking volunteer labor as well as monetary donations.
That need also got a response when Oregon resident Lee Hadick, who was in Kazakhstan, saw the HOO website and offered not only a donation but also his skill.
Two sections of the Conover Square wall are completed and a third is well underway.
The wall has 36 sections, each roughly 24 x 12 inches.
“We have spent $1,350.49 thus far and have logged 240 hours of donated time,” Ryland said.
Volunteers generally work on the project on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Call Ryland at 815-440-5171 to volunteer.
To contribute to Hands on Oregon, make checks payable to Blackhawk Hills Regional Council, and on the memo line write Hands On Oregon.
Checks can be mailed to Hands on Oregon, PO Box 244, Oregon IL 61061.
All contributions are tax deductible.