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Ethnic Heritage Museum surprises volunteers with gazebo dedication

Barb and Dick Berman volunteered throughout the community for decades, and the museum’s Board of Directors wanted to honor them with a Gazebo Barb helped obtain a grant for.
Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:26 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - Barb and Dick Berman sat down for what they thought was a normal gazebo dedication, but what they didn’t know was this new structure honored them.

The Ethnic Heritage Museum Board of Directors and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce honored the Berman’s with their own gazebo for their hard work to the community and the museum. The Berman’s have volunteered in the community for decades and recently retired from the Museum’s Board of Directors. Barb played an important role in obtaining a grant for the gazebo.

While the Berman’s were surprised by this honor, they credit those behind the scenes for making this possible.

“It’s a thrill, it’s an honor, it’s a privilege. We have got a wonderful group of people here that keep this place going,” said Barb Berman. “The City of Rockford depends on its volunteers. the more volunteers we have the better this city is going to be.”

“We appreciate the thought behind the dedication but the important thing is for volunteers to support the project,” said Dick Berman.

Heritage Museum Park Village Board President Jocelyn Hare said dedicating this to them was an easy decision because they play an important role in the success of the museum.

“Rockford is in their blood. They love this community, they love what this museum stands for and they want to make it a better place,” said Hare. “It was really heartwarming to see what it meant to them.”

In addition, they are working to raise funds for its Heritage Museum Project. Funds will be used to connect a brick pathway between the Ethnic Heritage Museum and the Graham-Ginestra House and help create a new entrance to the parking lot to make it safer to travel. Other pathways and ethnic cultural and historical components will also be funded.

Illinois State Senator Steve Stadelman passed a $50,000 grant approval to help with phase one of restoring the barn which dates back to the 1850s.

The structure was built back in November, but leaders said this really the first time the community could utilize it.

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