By: Timothy Kays
Keith Brown had been a lineman for the Village of Edgerton since 2005. On the morning of February 16, 2017, Brown was struck by a vehicle and killed while riding his bicycle. An entire village mourned the tragic loss of one of their own. In April, the village planted a tree and placed a memorial stone near the village fire hall in memory of Brown. On the afternoon of October 29, Edgerton High School sophomore Eric Gruver raised the bar with the unveiling of his Eagle Scout project at Miller Park.
Gruver took to the walking trail in the woods at the northwest side of Miller Park, and began his work. Prior to his modifications, Gruver was already very familiar with the path, as it is a part of the Edgerton High School Cross Country course, a team of which Gruver is a member, along with the basketball and track teams. Gruver extended the trail and improved it, including putting down a base of wood chips. The last thing was the installation of the sign identifying it as his Eagle Scout project…a gift to the Village of Edgerton and its citizens in the memory of Keith Brown, a former Boy Scout in his own right.
The dedication ceremony was attended by members of village administration and village employees, as well as several members of Keith Brown’s family and extended family. Prior to asking for a moment of silence, Village Mayor Lance Bowsher, opened the ceremonies with the reason that all were gathered on the cold, blustery day, “…to pay tribute to our friend and co-worker Keith Brown.” Continuing, he said, “I’d like to thank Eric Gruver, who took on this project. He and the (Boy Scout) troops did a great job. This park is very important to our community, so we’re out here a lot. I’ve already seen people use this path. We’re going to keep it up.”
With that, Mayor Bowsher gave the go ahead for Gruver to remove the covering over the sign. There were more than a few ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ to be heard as the sign was unveiled. Looking to the sign, Mayor Bowsher said that it, “…is going to be there forever in our memory of Keith, and I’m sure he would love right where that’s sitting, and the setting behind it. That’s what he would be all about right here, is being in these woods.” In conclusion, Mayor Bowsher said, “We loved him; he was part of our team, and that (sign and trail) will be there forever to remember Keith.”
“It was a lot of hard work,” said Eric’s father, Jason Gruver. “The Scouts, and a lot of the cross country team members helped, along with a lot of other volunteers and grandparents.”
The dedication and effort put forth by Eric was certainly not lost on any of Keith Brown’s family members in attendance, especially his sister, Elaine Helberg. When asked what her brother would have thought of such a gesture, she said, “He’d think that this would give other people to get out into nature, to look at nature by themselves or with a group, and to see the beauty that was made for us, to appreciate it, and to give thanks. To have it dedicated in his name, he would have overflowed.”
“He was humble. He would not have wanted it, because he was just so humble. To have everybody else be able to see nature, he’d love it… because he loved nature. He’d have lived outside in nature all the time if he could have. He was never one to raise flags when he did something for other people… he just passed it on. This today is passing it on again, because of his life.”
Keith Brown left a mark on a village that called him their own. On this day, that village showed that although he no longer walks amongst them, his positive influence lives on.
Timothy can be reached at email@example.com
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