(Photo by Chris Reed)
It was little more than a year ago when a group of young teens approached the Sutherland City Council about building a skate park at the city's park in the center of town.
The teens took it upon themselves to approach the city council and some parents were unaware of their efforts until word got around. The city did put some equipment in for skateboard enthusiast to use to get the project started.
Among those ambitious youngsters was Anthony Vos, the 13 year old son of Rian and Gwen Vos. Unfortunately a short time later, in June 2005, a motorcycle accident claimed the young boy's life. The community of Sutherland naturally pulled together during the tragic event in the form of memorial money.
Originally the Vos' had meant to use the memorial money to complete the skate park in memory of their son. Instead they opted to hang on to it to possibly help out a classmate down the road.
Since Rian Vos is one of the owners and operations manager for JTV in Sutherland he had the means to build what his son and his friends wanted at the park. The goal, a half pipe and quarter pipe to add to the equipment the city already had on hand.
The design was taken from, of all places, a Slim Jim advertisement. Rian called the Slim Jim company and explained the situation and how they wanted to build the equipment shown in the ad. The company had no problem with it and the design was set in motion.
Over the winter a couple of guys from JTV donated their time to build the half-pipe and quarter-pipe in a couple of weekends with JTV donating the supplies and equipment to build it.
When the equipment was installed a few weeks ago their son's friends and classmates came and were allowed to spray paint the equipment to their own preferences. Then they put the equipment to immediate use.
Even the Vos' younger son Evan has already put the park to use. The Vos' enjoy seeing the kids in the community putting the skate park to use, but admit that it is also bittersweet. Rian says, "I hope the kids have fun on it." They were glad to help complete a project that their son helped to start.