It’s hard to imagine on the hot sultry day that it was, that a fireplace could be such a welcome addition to a breezy picnic shelter. But memories of winters past were still fresh in the minds of many of those attending the fireplace dedication. Cold winter days will be much warmer now at Caledon Natural Area!
Charlie Hayden, Events Coordinator – Paralyzed Veterans of America
It all came about after an extremely cold December during the disabled American Veterans’ Hunt at Caledon Natural Area. Members of the local chapter of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association saw a great need at the park. The disabled Veterans participating in the hunt use the shelter for meals and to rest. The problem was the shelter was freezing cold! In the past, the park staff and the volunteers did all they could to make participants warm and comfortable by covering windows and openings with plastic, bringing in propane heaters, providing blankets and hot coffee. All this helped of course but something more needed to be done for our Veterans.
Disabled America Veterans Hunt
The Fredericksburg/Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Deer Hunter Association, along with the Fredericksburg Chapter of the Knights of Pythias, private citizens and the local community raised $12,000.00 to build a fireplace in the existing picnic shelter at the park.
Congressman, Rob Wittman and Virginia State Parks Director, Joe Elton
The finished hearth was dedicated on June 5, 2011.
The program included an Invocation by Bill Newman with the Fredericksburg/Northern Neck Chapter of the Virginia Deer Hunters Association. Comments from Matt Lafley, President of the NNVDHA. Joe Elton, Director of Virginia State Parks and Congressman Rob Wittman unveiled the fireplace. Remarks were also made by John LoBuglio, King George County Board of Supervisors, Charlie Hayden, Sporting Events Coordinator, PVA and Percy “Buddy” Fines project coordinator NNVDHA.
King George County Sheriff Dempsey, Buddy Fines and members of the PVA
The granite plaque above the fireplace is a tribute to all the American Armed Forces. An American Bald Eagle is etched in the granite representing not only the Air Force, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Marines but has become a special symbol for Caledon Natural Area. You really should come out to see the fireplace. The stonework, granite, brick and wood is a pure work of art!
There is also a granite plaque with all the names of the contributors to this wonderful project. For more information on how you can help, please contact the park (540) 663-3861 or email [email protected]