Pond Building Magic

Published on April 28, 2024

Mike Miller and William “Billy Bedrock” Franklin

When Billy Franklin announced a memorial pond build to honor his father, I knew pond builders would respond. Billy is known for his honesty, humbleness, love of family, servant leadership to his employees, his community and his church. These qualities are shared by many of those who attend the WGE annually, and they responded to his call for help.

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I knew all but a tiny handful of the 50 or 60 who attended the two days and watched them cooperate to make a dream come true. It was truly inspirational and transcendent. For me, it was a chance to be among friends again, show my respect for an old friend and, perhaps most importantly, serve as a small part of something magical. It highlighted the human values of respect, recognition, reward and relationships.

It was a most magical experience — watching almost 60 professional pond builders move massive piles of dirt, tons and tons of big rocks, and more tons of gravel all around the 160 feet of stream, effectively without accident or incident. From my view, far away from the machinery, I marveled at the creativity taking place slowly before my eyes. These were my people — friends from all over the country and new ones from Canada and the United Kingdom. I call them “my people” because they highlighted the human values of respect, recognition, reward and relationships to help a friend honor his father. I’ll carry these memories for a long time.

Imagine, if you will, a scene where massive 18-wheelers and dump trucks are delivering rocks, boulders, dirt and gravel to replace the dwindling piles already in place as 60 professionals dance a half-dozen huge pieces of equipment back and forth to construct a 160-foot stream in three days. As the Oklahoma winds blew dust over the area, the stream began to take shape under the direction of the master craftsmen directing the disparate crews from around the country who were volunteering to help a friend honor his father. People from east and west, north and south and even from other countries came together to transform a longstanding dry creek bed into a live stream that appeared to have been there for generations. I still can’t imagine it coming to life at the designated hour as planned. It was truly magical.

Read more about the memorial pond build here.

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