When you are 79 years old you can pretty much do what you want. Or, maybe we should rephrase that, you can do things when you feel like it.
There was no question that Dale Cooper, 79, wanted to help his community out by providing the labor for a new sign for the Byrd Township Community Building. So over the past week he has toiled in the cool hours of the mornings laying brick for the new sign.
With help from his great grandson, Avery Reynolds, 10, he laid the brickwork Tuesday, July 22. Lucky for them it was unseasonably cool for July.
Like many in the Byrd Township/Decatur Community, Cooper has a lot of community pride. The community works together to keep the old schoolhouse operational and functioning.
“I went to school here,” said Cooper. “I am a 1952 graduate. I have a lot of memories here.”
Cooper has farmed most of his life owning more than 100 acres in Byrd Township. He’s pretty much retired but helps with the Byrd Township Preservation Committee. He started in the construction business in 1954 working as a brick mason. He did other things in construction later. He’s also the father of a popular Brown County figure, World Arm Wrestling Champion Sam Cooper.
The new sign will serve as a beacon in that community. It has electric service and will light the community events that will be posted in letters on the sign board. With the masonry stand finished, the sign board will be placed in the middle.
“We worked in the mornings a few days,” said Cooper. “I didn’t feel well yesterday (Monday) so I just stayed home.”
But Tuesday he was back at it wearing a smile.
The sign will be blue and gold (school colors). A dedication will take place in the future.