January 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 56

Park Bench
Arminda's Bench: An Enduring Love Story
Sometimes, a grieving or melancholy heart can be soothed and lifted when the afflicted person does something good without an
expectation of receiving anything in return. That's what Harold McKay, a Korean and Vietnam War veteran, did when he purchased
a park bench in honor of his late wife and had it installed along the popular Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trail in Belton, Texas.
McKay, now 93, was a frequent user of the trail system in Belton. During his regular morning walks, his thoughts would often
turn to his late wife, Arminda, who died in 2013. The couple had spent 64 years together before she passed.
Soon his walks included a diversion from the well-worn path to the nearby offices of Belton Parks and Recreation, where he
learned about Belton's Legacy Program, which allows residents to honor friends or family by making park improvements in their
honor. In many cases, the improvement is as simple as planting a tree.
McKay began with two trees, one on each side of a nondescript concrete pad located adjacent to the most popular walking trail in
Belton. This spot also served as a natural place for older walkers to take a break. The only problem was that it lacked a place to sit down.
This inspired McKay's plan to recognize his wife while adding an important missing component to the trail. He discussed his idea
with staff at the City of Belton, and they helped him accomplish his goal.
" Now he has a tangible reminder of his wife every day he walks the trail, " Belton Director of Parks and Recreation Matt Bates
says, " and his family and many others will enjoy the trees and bench for generations. "
Ask McKay how he and Arminda met, and he immediately gets nostalgic. It was 1948, and he was home on leave from the military
when he took a seat in a restaurant in Wolfe City, Texas.
Here is how McKay describes the encounter: " Oh man, I thought, 'My God, I don't have to look no more. There she is - right
there, just waiting.' "
Decades later, McKay, with a heart filled with warm memories, picked out the perfect location for a bench, which honors her with
a placard inscribed with both their names. It is fitting that he chose a bench to honor his beloved Arminda, because when he first
saw her, she swept him off his feet.
The walkers who enjoy the gift of the bench may never know the depth of feeling
that brought it about, but its donor knows, and his heart is better for it.
- Paul Romer, Public Information Officer, City of Belton, Texas
Harold McKay sits on a
park bench dedicated to
his late wife, Arminda.
56 Parks & Recreation |
J ANUAR Y 2 0 22 | PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
PHOTO COURTESY OF BELTON PARKS AND RECREATION

January 2022 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of January 2022 - Parks & Recreation

January 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
January 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
January 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
January 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 1
January 2022 - Parks & Recreation - 2
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January 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
January 2022 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
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