Family dedicates bell to Veterans Park

Members of the Hendry LaBelle Parks & Recreation Department Team, Left to Right: Dave Basquin, James Miller, Mario Moreno, Randy White and Director, Ramiro Rodriguez. (Submitted photo)

The bell was moved by the Parks and Rec. Dept. from the Lynn’s home to a restoration site in preparation for the dedication at the LaBelle Veterans Park on Veteran’s Day, November 11.

The bell pictured is from atop the William S. Mitchell, a dredge operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for 37 years. The Mitchell was a sidewheel, 34” suction head dustpan dredge, 277’ by 85’. She opened and maintained commercial navigation between Sioux City, Iowa and St. Louis, on the Missouri River until retired in 1973. The bell was cast by VanDuzen foundry of Cincinnati, Ohio in 1934. It has a 36” diameter and is 30” tall, it weighs more than 250 pounds.

The bell was salvaged from the Mitchell after Captain Ricard Lynn, on a tiny towboat, The Prince, unsuccessfully tried to save the dredge from its demise during the great flood of 1993. A heartbreaking video of Captain Lynn’s valiant effort can be viewed on You Tube: “USS Nightmare – Sep 21, 2011”.

K.C. Lynn is donating the bell to the LaBelle Veterans Park at Main St. and SR 80 in honor of her late husband, Captain Richard J. Lynn, who honorably served our country during WWII and the Korean War in the U.S. Army and Air Force. Richard is the father of Katherine, Wolfgang and Charlie Lynn.

The Caloosa Belle is published every Thursday.

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