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Special Friends at St. Mark’s

Judy, Malorie, Doris with cakeI grew up in a small town, and like most small-town youth, I thought it would be so much cooler to live in a city. I did eventually end up in a city, and yep you guessed it, I missed living in a small town. Returning to small-town living is something I’ve never regretted, and I’m so glad we landed in this small town. Writing for The Gyp Hill Premiere gave me a condensed compilation of the history of the area, and the people who settled here and kept the community viable through the years. One of these families was the Rickard family. Little did I know during the times I talked with Dub Rickard about some story, that years down the road I would become acquainted with one of his grandsons, Arron Small.

Laurel Harrison “Dub” Rickard, the youngest of twelve children, was born in Zenda in 1920. His parents, Charles and Mima, moved to Barber County with their five youngest children in 1925.

Dub was just a few weeks from his 95th birthday when he passed from this life in 2015. He had packed his life full to the brim with events, experiences, and encounters as he had sampled college life, had seen some action-packed military years, had married and became the father of two daughters, and in due course, he purchased the Hibbard’s Rexall Store from his father-in-law, George Allan Hibbard. Even after retiring, he stayed busy and involved in several different organizations and his church, St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

Dub’s interest in the people and happenings of this community turned his mind into a huge storehouse of stories that he was more than happy to share with all he met. His jaunty way of telling stories, with his head tilted, eyes sparkling, and lips twitching in laughter, brought those stories to life in the mind of the listener. Some of that storytelling went on in the Lincoln Library.

Dub married Mary Jean Hibbard in 1945. Their family increased in size to four with the addition of two daughters, Georgia and Martha.

Georgia’s son, Arron Small, returns to Medicine Lodge, when time allows, to stay active in St Mark’s Episcopal Church. While he is in Medicine Lodge, he uses the computers in our library to take care of his internet needs. His visits to the library often include cookies, good stories, and great conversation. During the holidays, he invited the library staff to the church for a get-together with members of both St. Mark’s and the Presbyterian Church. They served us up a lasagna meal with all of the trimmings, along with a great time of fellowship, and our own special cake.

Soon after, the library received a card from St. Mark’s with a generous donation for Phase Two tucked inside. We appreciate the donation and those who gave. We appreciate the members of the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and the First United Presbyterian Church, churches that were established in Medicine Lodge in the 1800s. We appreciate Arron and his wife Cathy; it has been a real pleasure getting to know them.

I feel it is safe to say that Dub would be proud!

Grant from National Gypsum

National Gypsum big checkWe at Lincoln Library have had an abundance of surprises in the past few weeks. They are the good kind that leaves you speechless, eyes dripping, and brain reeling. Some of these surprises involved just a few words strung together that provided unmeasurable encouragement. Some were mindful acts of kindness that were so appreciated. Some provided funds to finish up Phase One and some provided funds to begin Phase Two.

As we began to prepare for Phase Two, we opened a bank account on November 16th designated only for the remodeling of our annex. A month later on December 16th, we have a balance of $29,625.80, to be exact.

It was a total surprise to receive $25,000.00 from National Gypsum. I was approached by an employee of National Gypsum asking a few questions, and was asked by another employee to write up a short synopsis of our goals for Phase Two. In only weeks we were notified that we were going to be presented with a $25,000.00 check.

The background story behind the gift involves the decision by Thomas Nelson, chairman, president, and CEO, of National Gypsum Company, and his wife, Anna. They made the decision to donate a total of $1 million divided up amongst the communities in the United States and Canada where National Gypsum and affiliated companies are located. These donations were to go to nonprofit groups that had a focus in the areas of community services and education, and were to be selected by associates at each facility. The presentations were planned in conjunction with Giving Tuesday.

We definitely appreciate the money as we begin the financial challenge of raising $250,000.00. We appreciate Jeff Hawk, Plant Manager; Jo Wedman, Office Manager; and Miki Jackson, HR and Safety Manager; and every other National Gypsum employee involved in this amazing gift to Lincoln Library’s Phase Two.

We have the “big” check on display at the library; it’s pretty impossible to miss when walking through the door. I look at it as a placard of encouragement, a reminder that we are not in this venture alone. We are sliding into a new year with that reassuring thought reinforcing our motivation, and after experiencing 2021, I find that surprising!