The City of Pinehurst park on West Park Street was a flurry of activity as members of Eagles Aerie 2523 worked in the heat to install new equipment, repair and renovate present equipment, and began to survey what needs to be done in the future to install a walking track around the park.

The Eagle Riders are heading the project with assistance of other members of 2523. The Riders have worked with Home Depot to buy picnic tables at a deep discount and the club has assembled and installed them on the slabs at the park. The two new tables are ready to be used.

There is a new swing set complete with slide that has been installed at the front of the park. It is a wooden frame with swings and the slide. The set was put into use on the work day by Thyleas and Bodi Middlebrook, grandsons of Eagle Rider James Middlebrook. The boys had come to the park with their mother, Delessa to bring a cooler of water to the working Eagles.

At the park are several old grills mounted on pedestals. The club is cleaning and repainting them and will buy new grates for grills.

“As soon as the ground gets dry enough for a tractor, these guys are going to bring in some equipment and get started on building a walking track around the park. We are going to measure the distance and hopefully we will be able to work out a full quarter mile track. We are looking at options for the surface. The City really appreciates all that this group of Eagles has done. They have already cleaned up and done some repair work on the city park behind the old city hall on Nightingale Street”, said Pinehurst Mayor Pete Runnels. “The city crews did some of the cleanup of weeds and brush at this park, but the Eagle Riders have spent a lot of time using their weedeaters to clean up what the city crews did not. The city did the heavy removal around the outside edges and the Riders cleaned around the equipment in the park and the signage, and places like that.”

The members of the local Eagle Riders are a very civic minded group and are  eager to participate in projects like the city park and fundraisers. They are also a modest group, content to be known by first names and their “Riding Names”. .

At this work day there was Arthur, “Blueboy”; Steve, “Dog”; Chris, “Pop Chris”, the President: Darryl, “Flashlight”, Sergeant at Arms: Ralph, “Sneaker”; and Jarlene, “Sweet P”, Treasurer. Other Eagles were Melvin, Charles, and Fern.

“Sneaker”, Ralph Smith, is an employee of Ohmstede in Beaumont. “Ohmstede has been very good to us. They have allowed us to use some equipment that we have needed to work on the parks and have indicated that they are willing to become more involved in out projects, like this park in the future. Our club is very appreciative of what they have done for us,” said Smith. “Ohmstede has intentions of becoming more involved in civic projects like our club does.”

The Eagle Riders have participated in events to benefit the Wounded Warriors, conducted a ride to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and recently held a fundraiser benefit for a local cancer victim. The contribution of the Eagles Aerie was to allow use of the building at no charge. The members also worked on the auction and meal preparation and sales.

The Eagle Riders have worked out an agreement with the City of Pinehurst to let local youthful offenders, under the age of 18 do community service with club members as overseers. Municipal Judge Derry Dunn and other city officials have agreed with the proposal and the club is about ready to institute the agreement.

On Saturday nights many of the Eagles can be found working at their Aerie on 28th Street conducting the weekly Karaoke. Harmony Sound provides the music and equipment. Herbie Stutes and his band will be playing at club on June19. Beverages are discounted and proceeds go to the upkeep of the building and support of local Eagles projects. June 20 there will be a fundraising fish fry with plates selling for $8.

Members of the Eagle Riders and Pinehurst mayor Pete Runnels at the recent workday at the Park on West Park in Pinehurst.

Courtesy photo