Posted on

Lincoln’s Park

Lincoln’s Park Lincoln’s Park

Family plans new playground in Loyal to repay community’s kindness

A family who benefitted recently from the kindness of the Loyal community now wants to repay that generosity in honor of their recently deceased son.

Kaitlyn and Matt Schrock, parents of Lincoln Schrock, who died of cancer on Sept. 18 at the age of five, are discussing early plans to build a new playground area in Loyal’s Westside Park, where local kids can go and play the way their son did. In the two years while Lincoln and his family battled his disease and traveled across the country for treatment, the Loyal community rallied behind them with a “Loyal Loves Lincoln” campaign of fund-raising and emotional support.

Kaitlyn Schrock and other community members working on the park idea appeared at a Nov. 19 Loyal City Council meeting to inform the city of their dream.

“Today marks two months since Lincoln went to Heaven,” Kaitlyn said. “Throughout his journey we have been supported in every imaginable way by the local community. We received comments from across the globe about the caring community that we lived in and how rare that is these days. Many of you played a significant role in that support and we are grateful.”

To help repay that debt of kindness, the family wants a large playground filled with new equipment. Tentative plans are to use space in the city’s Westside Park, which has spacious open areas and is away from traffic. Schrock said her family and a group of other community members are planning fund-raisers to pay for the project.

“This community has supported our family in many ways throughout Lincoln’s journey and we always have wanted to give back,” she said.

The best way the family knows to do that is to construct a playground like the ones in which Lincoln loved to play.

“During our travels to big cities with Lincoln to receive treatments he was often immunocompromised,” his mother said. “Most public places and especially crowded areas were dangerous to him. Playgrounds and parks were safe places and we spent many hours visiting them. He loved swings and we could never push him high enough. He wanted to fly … As we played we dreamed of creating a space in Loyal in his honor.” Kaila Fitzl, one of the community members working with the Schrocks, said the group wanted to run the idea past the City Council first. While the Council did not take any official action because the item was not on its Nov. 19 meeting agenda, it did give informal support to using space in the cityowned park. Schrock said plans are for “new, exciting equipment” in a large playground setting. City Council member Tom Bobrofsky said the park is in dire need of new equipment for kids. “That equipment came back when the county gave us the park for $1,” he said of the current swings, slides, etc.

Fitzl said the first fund-raising priority is to secure funding for the playground area. After that, the group also has plans for the addition of a “splash pad” water feature. She said one possible fund-raiser is to offer bricks and benches for sale to people/families who would like to support the project. The new area could be an attraction to bring other people into Loyal, she added.

Schrock said the family is not thinking of just a piece of equipment or two. It wants to go big, as Lincoln would want it.

“Our dream is very big and we have a lot of people who are willing to help fundraise,” Schrock said.

The Westside Park would be an ideal setting, she added.

“We loved the big lawn. We loved doing picnics,” she said.

“We believe that spending time outside is vital to our kids’ emotional and physical health,” Schrock said. “Families spending time together is important as the years really are short.”

People who wish to donate to the project can do so online at lincoln.

Lincoln Schrock