Commentary: Collaboration hatched Bob, more than a duckFor the past few years I have had the privilege of driving “Bob” the duck to his various engagements around our community. It has been a task that I will readily admit I have enjoyed; because I felt like in some small way I was brightening people’s day —I mean who can’t smile when they see that big yellow duck coming down the road!
By: Jason Jech, The Republican Eagle
For the past few years I have had the privilege of driving “Bob” the duck to his various engagements around our community. It has been a task that I will readily admit I have enjoyed; because I felt like in some small way I was brightening people’s day —I mean who can’t smile when they see that big yellow duck coming down the road!
I guess that is why I was so surprised when the Red Wing Police Department contacted me late one night to tell me that Bob had been vandalized. Who would do such a thing to Bob?
When I arrived to see what had actually been done, I found myself not thinking about Bob but what the words on Bob meant and stood for.
Bob is already fixed, but the thought that a person could be so intolerant of others saddens me greatly. We talk about Minnesota nice, but we need to practice it as well. Words without actions are just words.
I get that we will not always see eye to eye with each other, and I am OK with that. The true test in my mind is how we handle these differences — whether they are racial, religious, sexual orientation or some other difference. We are constantly preaching to our ELC students the need to respect themselves, others and the world around them! This is no different!
Now I wanted to take just a moment and set a few facts straight about Bob, how he came to be and the important people in his development.
Approximately six years ago, Maureen Nelson and Jay Tauer from Youth Outreach asked to meet with me about a fundraising idea that they had. Their idea was to drop rubber ducks into the Mississippi River and sell tickets for each duck to raise funds and awareness for each of the organizations. The ELC agreed to join forces with Youth Outreach and we next began trying to develop ways to promote this fundraiser.
Gail Dahlberg, who was a member of our ELC Board of Directors, thought that creating a big yellow duck that we could pull around town would be the perfect way to accomplish this, and he was right.
With the help of ELC field instructor Brad Nagle, Dahlberg first created a frame work of metal and then attached metal lathe, like what would be used for stucco, to the frame work. Once this was created, cement was plastered on. He was painted a bright yellow and Bob was born!
So although Bob is made of concrete, he is not solid concrete. The trailer and Bob together weigh approximately 3,500 pounds, so he is no small duck.
The idea to name him Bob came during a contest that first year, when Emma Reese thought up the name and it has stuck like cement on a duck ever since.
As much as I would like to take credit for Bob and his creation, it was people more creative and talented than I who have made this a reality.
So although a bad thing happened to Bob, he is really a product of some of the best things that can be found in Red Wing — caring, conviction, creativity, enjoyment, ingenuity and generosity. So don’t let one isolated incident taint our view of what a great place Red Wing is.
Jason Jech is executive director of the Red Wing Environmental Learning Center.