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Tradition of care for Orrick’s welcome garden

Judy Bruning has tended to a popular landscaped area at the west end of Orrick’s business district for more than 30 years. Her involvement started when she was a leader for her daughters’ Girl Scout troop, moved on to an effort by a now-disbanded sorority chapter and progressed to the personal responsibility of Judy and her husband Roger. (Photo by David Knopf/Richmond News)

Judy Bruning has tended to a popular landscaped area at the west end of Orrick’s business district for more than 30 years. Her involvement started when she was a leader for her daughters’ Girl Scout troop, moved on to an effort by a now-disbanded sorority chapter and progressed to the personal responsibility of Judy and her husband Roger. (Photo by David Knopf/Richmond News)

By David Knopf/Richmond News

It’s the kind of thing people see so often they take it for granted.

But not Judy Bruning, her husband Roger and members of the Orrick community who’ve tended to it for more than 30 years with their labor, donations and encouragement.

As drivers cross the tracks and enter Orrick from the west, the first thing they see is a landscaped area of trees, flowers, shrubs and oversized stones, all surrounded by railroad ties.

It’s been a work of love and dedication for Judy since her daughters, Andrea and Beth, were members of a Girl Scout troop she led. That was in the late 1970s, when she and her troop received permission to make the almond-shaped island of city land their project.

“Originally that spot was smaller and a man named Dave Brady had a rose garden there,” said Judy, who like her husband is a retired schoolteacher. “I guess after he passed away and no one took care of it, it went to seed.”

With the support of then-Mayor Lloyd Smith, the city council and public works employee Joe Crump, Bruning and her scout troop expanded the area and made it their own.

“We dug a circle around there and put railroad ties around it with the city’s help, and hauled in dirt,” Judy said. “There wasn’t a lot of money spent there, but we had some really good volunteers.”

Donald Keith Blythe, with then-Missouri Public Service (now KCP&L), installed an electrical outlet so the group could light the area for the holidays.

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