Deploying a Pro-Bono Team to Help Military Families at Rick’s Place
Rick Herrema had a deep love for his fellow man, his family and his country. When Rick claimed you as a friend, he was your friend for life, and for the 27 years Rick lived he never stopped serving others.
Unfortunately, Rick didn’t live to fulfill his dream of a family. The Special Operations Sergeant 1st Class soldier died in an Operation Iraqi Freedom deployment in April 2006. But his dream for happy, healthy children and families lives on at Rick’s Place.
The Rick Herrema Foundation (RHF) was founded by Rick’s friends in his memory. It launched in 2014 with the goal to create a safe area for military families to reintegrate, relax and recreate after deployments.
Rick’s Place is a 50-acre greenspace and interactive retreat center near Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
The park is free for service and veteran families. It features a pavilion, a horse barn, an office / community center, an obstacle course, zip line, flower beds, free libraries, a fire pit, trail, playgrounds and open fields. Future plans include a riding arena, corral, an interactive trail and a pond.
However, drainage issues, stormwater challenges, a lack of fire suppression capabilities and an outdated site development plan threatened those goals.
McKim & Creed’s mission is to be an “employee-owned engineering and surveying firm of people helping people solve complex, demanding infrastructure challenges.” So when RHF director Ted Ryan mentioned Rick’s Place and its infrastructure challenges to McKim & Creed CEO John Lucey, PE, John was ready to donate the company’s services.
“We have already taken your top priorities of work and begun the process to complete the drainage project on our great lawn. We are super excited knowing this will increase the numbers of families allowed for our events,” wrote Diana Juergens, RHF executive director, in a thank you note to McKim & Creed.
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