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Old 05-22-2009, 11:06 PM   #1
ElyseC
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Default Memorial bench installed


Memorial bench installed at library

By Mary Zielinski
In less than 24 hours after it was installed, the Bruce Alan Chapman memorial bench near the Kalona Public Library entrance was in full use. An older man found it a convenient place for an al fresco lunch, a young woman with two little children used it to wait for their ride and an older womansat there to read a letter.

That would have pleased Bruce who not only loved books and libraries but also had quite a record for helping the elderly and disabled. Installed last week near the handicapped parking sign and sloped handicapped library entrance, the bench is a cooperative effort “from a group, the Desktop
Publishing Forum, that’s been affiliated on line for 20 years,” said Don Arnoldy of Santa Clara, California. While some knew Bruce, “all of them know Elyse (his wife) and we discussed doing something” in memory of Chapman who was killed in an auto accident August 27, 2008.


Arnoldy volunteered to coordinate efforts that involved people on three continents and numerous countries with a consensus that an engraved bench was the right memorial, one that would provide a place for Ben, Chapman’s eight-year-old son.


Arnoldy stressed that raising funds “was not a problem,” and came quickly. He then called the City of Kalona to see about donating the bench and to find a proper location.


“There were some questions, but the library really seemed the ideal place,” he said.


Contacted by Elyse Chapman to see about the library site, council member Steve Lafaurie relayed the request, it was approved by the library trustees and “the bench was bought, packaged and shipped to Kalona last fall,” said Arnoldy.


“It is constructed from recycled plastic,” he said, a material recommended by Kalona’s Parks and recreation Supervisor Todd Fitzsenry, for durability and ease of maintenance.


About a month ago, the exact placement for the bench was discussed by Elyse and Library Director Anne Skaden with both agreeing it needed to be in front.


“Mike Bowlin (Kalona’s public works director) and city employee Kenny Kempf, installed it last week,” said Skaden, adding that “Mike said there should be paving stones to make it look better. He went to King’s for them and when King’s learned what it was for, they donated them.


“It is a lovely bench and I know it will be used,” she added.

A native of Cheyenne, Wyoming, Bruce received his BA cum laude in history, philosophy and political science from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California. While in college, he created the senior activities department for the City of Azusa, and after graduation went on to Cal State Fullerton for a teaching degree.


Although he had other jobs, including serving with the US Army and was a licensed contractor in California, Bruce said often his favorite and most rewarding was teaching independent living and job skills to disabled adults. His memorial is a fitting extension of that.

-----------------

Dear forum members, Ben and I do not have adequate words to express what your gift means to the two of us and our entire family.

I went to see it first, before Ben got out of school, and was overwhelmed. I then picked Ben up from school and drove him straight over to see it, not telling him why we were going to the library. He's never had an inkling that anything like this might happen and he was blown away. It was a beautiful, warm day and we just sat there a while soaking everything in, hugged each other and wiped a tear or two.

Nearly every day I have people come up to me and comment about the bench, saying how beautiful it is, what a wonderful thing to have right there in that particular spot at the library.

I/we thank you, thank you and thank you again for your kindness, caring and generosity. Our love to everyone who made it possible in any way. This community is incredible, so amazing.

Elyse & Ben Chapman
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