What made this morning's service project here the MOTHER of all
projects were 1) the number of volunteers involved, 175 kids and 30
adults, and 2) the high level of organization.
Robert Baird, co director with his brother David (David has been to
Vrndavan with Shree Sharma and brought a group last year) of the
Historical Arts Restoration Company, called months ago to set up the
project. He has visited here several times, sent his adult team
leaders out here, drawn up with Vai an extensive materials list, and
even made a video of the temple and the projects needing completion.
Last Wednesday at an organizational meeting at their stake center in
Sugarhouse, Salt Lake City (50 miles away), the kids and team leaders
viewed the video to get up to speed.
This Saturday morning the volunteers started arriving by 8 am. They
immediately went to their allotted area, picked out the proper tools
and within 60 seconds of stepping foot on the property started to
work. There were 7 major projects.
- Painting five sheds, including the trim.
- Clearing weeds from the edge of the lake, putting down black
ground cloth to keep the weeds from regrowing, and planting flats of
- Widening the stage by 8 feet, which involved an lot of digging,
measuring and pouring concrete footings.
- Digging and again pouring footings for the pedestals of two brass
elephants to either side of the grand staircase
- Last week Pat Darrington, head of a local landscape company,
donated the equipment, and time to cut down and chew into wood chips
a huge dead cottonwood tree at the edge of our property. The cut logs
were arranged to enhance the existing natural obstacle course for the
llamas, and a trail of wood chips was laid out.
- The driveway up to the temple had big pot holes, which were all
leveled as far as possible by hand and filled with road base.
- A park was created on the east side of the property similar to the
one on the north side that David Baird and his volunteers created
last year. Again, ground cloth was stapled and several tons of gravel
spread by hand.
Each group took a 20-25 minute interval during which Caru gave them a
tour of the temple interior. He took 210 people through in groups of
30 kids and five or six adults, a total of 7 tours. Among the
volunteer adults and group leaders were the Stake President Kent
Cannon, Ceo of Beneficial Life insurance company, Mike Moffat, owner
of Gold Cross Ambulance, Dave Burbridge of Burbridge Waste Disposal.
Other names without biographies were Tim Hatch, Brian Gochnour, Jim
Boyce, Craig Ebhert, Reid Stringham, Robert Hogan and then only first
names of Josh, Syd, John (Okland Construction), Tony, Keith
(Dentist), Natalie, and Clint (Judge).
Shree Sharma showed up with Vijaya around noon, and in a gesture of
hospitality, donated 400 "sun poppers," cool sun hats that pop open
out of a carrying bag. We distributed them as gifts to all the kids
who really liked them. Shree often accompanies Robert and brother
David to India and Nepal. See more details about that in this
archived Diary entry of a few months ago.
As task after task wound up, we all assembled around 1 pm on the
front stairs for a group photo, an address by Stake President Cannon,
and a blessing of the imminent lunch. Lunch was saag paneer, nut
loaf, pasta, spaghetti, rice pilau, pineapple hallava, cookies,
fudge, cheesecake, mango lemonade, and salad bar.
Henriett, Gerald, Mikela, and Ram Ranjana were working hard from the
kitchen to keep the prasadam vessels full in the vanguard of long
lines of youth.
After the kids had left, Robert, John, Brian, Clint, and several
others worked more on the concreting, until all goals had been
accomplished by 4 pm. Vai and Robert, the two principle architects of
this most exceptional day, were captured on film. More resoundingly
than ever, we devotees of Krishna have been overwhelmed by the
generosity and "Christian Charity" of our Mormon friends and neighbors.