The old gas station needed updating for a while, but the return of Father Emil Kapaun gave Fred Silhan a reason to give it a new lick of paint.
“He just needed it, period,” he said, smoothing out the decals on the windows. “It’s the good thing about the Kapaun event. It gives us a deadline and something to aim for to do it. “
A small army of volunteers came out to mow, pick up trash, paint the church and clean up.
Silhan turned his attention to Remington Road. family owned, picked up scrap and pulled up tangles of trumpet vines.
Silhan also tried to restore some of the station’s old-fashioned charm by putting decals on the windows that recall the buildings’ history as a Case tractor dealership and painting the exterior in slate blue.
“We rewired the lights,” he said. “My grandfather Frank would activate them for special events like dancing at the ballroom. “
Silhan cleans and rewires old gas pumps he found in a garage, which he now uses as a workshop to work on old cars. He plans to install them in the front.
He would like to do more, but time is running out.
In the meantime, Silhan says he has seen the volunteers working hard with admiration and gratitude.
“They’ve had a mower brigade going on for weeks now,” he said. “It is impressive to see servant leadership. It is living the values of Father Kapaun.
Seeing the community come together to welcome home his native son inspired him.
“When you see people trying to make things better, that’s a good motivation to do something, too,” he said.