HUNTINGTON, IND.(WPTA21)-What starts out as a dream can become real with good intentions and generosity. Which is why this muddy Huntington County farm field looks like this today.
“This intentionally was designed to meet every aspect of any disability to help encourage every child to expand their imagination,” says Huntington resident Jean Pasko.
Good things often grow out of tragedy and Drake Goetz Memorial Park in Huntington County’s Union Township is one of them. Drake Goetz was a sixteen year old Canterbury High School student, killed in an off road vehicle accident in 2017. Carter Mertz was drake’s best friend.
“He was a really goofy kid he liked to make jokes he liked to do fun things,” recalls Mertz. He was always there when I needed him he was always there when everyone needed him and he was a great role model for the younger kids.”
Drakes friends and family thought so much of him they were determined that his death mean something positive. They came up with the idea of a community park. Community fundraisers were held, donations poured in, local businesses gave their time, equipment, materials. Ground was broken in spring 2018 and today the four acre park sports a soccer field, basketball courts, walking trails. A pickle ball court, pavilion and restrooms will be added soon and next spring a magnificent playground will be erected, everything handicap accessible to be enjoyed by everyone. Jean Pasko is Drakes grandmother.
“The peaceful serene setting I believe will be a big benefit to everyone,” she says. “We believe that this park will be a real healing place for other families that have lost children too soon.”
Drake Goetz rests in Union Cemetery just across the road from the park named for him, his grave site decorated with mementos left by friends who in years to come will bring their children and their grandchildren to this park, enjoy its serenity, and think about the difference one young life can make.