WEST TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Dozens gathered at Dewey Point early on Saturday morning, as local officials honored four people who made key contributions to the development of the Wabashiki Wildlife area.
Max Miller, John McNichols, Arby Montgomery and Judy Anderson all had different parts of the park named after them, a place they played an integral part in establishing over the past 10 years, according to Vigo County Commissioner Brendan Kearns.
“When you go back 10 years, this property, it was rough,” he said. “With the vision of Max Miller, Keith Ruble, Arby Montgomery, John McNichols, Judy Anderson, I was involved in the project, we got together and figured out how we could turn this area into public grounds.”
The walkway in the park will be named “The Max Miller Mile.” The trails at the park are named after McNichols, the outlook at Dewey Point will be named after Anderson, and Montgomery will have a trail head named after him once construction is finished, which is expected in 2023.
Kearns said these small gestures can go a long way.
“It’s very important that we recognize key individuals that were involved in this project,” he said. “Even if it’s a little thing, by having a small plaque, that will give us pause to remember and reflect about the people that helped us, and maybe inspire others to do projects like this too.”
Family members were on hand to attend the event. All three of Miller’s daughters made the trip to celebrate their father, who passed away in 2018.
Carmen Manning, his oldest daughter, said it had a special meaning to them, as it was the final project Miller worked on before his death.
“It’s surreal, and we’re holding back tears,” she said while surrounded by her sisters, Brenda Pomfret and Karen Foster. “But he would be so pleased, and we are just thankful, and grateful, and he’s left such a legacy. His fingerprints are everywhere.”
Following the ceremony, Manning said she knew what her father would want most going forward.
“He would want his community enjoying the beauty around them,” she said.