Representatives of Crane Nuclear in Bolingbrook accept their 2020 Appreciation of Partners Award. From left to right are Forest Preserve Board President Joe VanDuyne; Brandon Rowatt, Crane’s vice president and general manager; Melanie Nero, Crane’s human resources director; and Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve’s chief operating officer.
A Bolingbrook company and a Manhattan Boy Scout were both awarded 2020 Appreciation of Partners awards during the February 11 Forest Preserve District Board of Commissioners meeting.
Crane Nuclear was selected for the award after the company's employees participated in two volunteer workdays to open the view of the DuPage River along the trail at Riverview Farmstead Preserve in Naperville.
Boy Scout Jaden Fehrenbacher was chosen to receive the award for his Eagle Scout project, which involved organizing a team to repair a dilapidated trailside shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps decades ago at Hammel Woods in Shorewood.
The awards are given out annually by the Forest Preserve to organizations and individuals for their assistance in helping the District accomplish its goals.
Forty Crane employees worked to open the DuPage River view to make the area more scenic and enjoyable for the preserve’s trail users. The volunteers worked in the summer heat in August and again at a second workday in November.
During the workdays, employees cut and hauled small trees and tree limbs to the trail’s edge for wood chipping, and their efforts cleared an area nearly eight car-lengths long. The group accomplished this tremendous amount of work all while social distancing and wearing masks.
Melanie Nero, human resources manager, and Brandon Rowatt, vice president and general manager, accepted the award on behalf of Crane Nuclear.
“Crane Nuclear takes very seriously the opportunity to give back and serve in the community,” Nero said. “Even with the backdrop of the pandemic, we still wanted to look for an opportunity to give back.”
She added that the experience was “mutually beneficial” because company employees are enjoying the preserves for exercise and team building excursions. Nero said later that the company had been searching for a volunteer activity that could be performed outside during the pandemic and Dave Dwyer, Crane's new product development manager, suggested partnering with the Forest Preserve. Dwyer attended the award presentation virtually.
Fehrenbacher, a member of Boy Scout Troop 49 in New Lenox, supervised reconstruction of the Hammel Woods shelter's limestone pillars and the complete redesign and construction of a new roof. The structure's roof and top two feet of each column had been absent for decades. The project took 182 hours to complete.
Manhattan Boy Scout Jaden Fehrenbacher accepts his 2020 Appreciation of Partners Award together with his mother, father and younger brother. From left to right are Forest Preserve Board President Joe VanDuyne; Jackie Fehrenbacher; Conyer Fehrenbacher; Tony Fehrenbacher; Jaden Fehrenbacher; and Ralph Schultz, the Forest Preserve’s chief operating officer.
He accepted his plaque accompanied by his parents, Jackie and Tony, and younger brother, Conyer. Jackie Fehrenbacher said after the meeting that the Hammel Woods project was a true collaboration between Jaden’s fellow Scouts, her husband, and her father, Tony Weber. Eagle Scout projects require candidates to act as supervisors and to bring projects to completion, she explained.
Because Scouts cannot work at a height higher than 4 feet, Troop members stained wood and worked on the ground to create the components for the shelter structure and her husband and father completed the shelter's higher elements, Jackie said.
“My son’s Eagle Scout project was a lot of work,” she added. “So, it’s nice for him to get this recognition from the Forest Preserve."
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