UND Center for Community Engagement

Kelly-Day 2

In Students' Reflections on March 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Driving on the Enchanted Highway this beautiful sunny spring day looking at the unique sculptures I felt like I was in a place I had never imaged as North Dakota.  Pulling into Regent to the Enchanted Highway Gift shop watching a vibrant excited man open the door with a shining smile in his work clothes the excitement spread from Gary Greff to the Stone Soup Tour Group.  He told us about how he never let anyone tell him he cant do something starting with his high school principle when he said Gary succeeding in college was not likely.  After an incredible career in educating the youth Gary moved back to his hometown to start a project that has taken him to places that were once just a dream, and provided a wonderful sight to people traveling along the highway.  To me the sculptures were great, but the impact he left was due to the spirit, determination, and dreaming ability this man had.  Regent may not have natural capital that draws tourism, so he is using his social capital to make something really great.  He discovered a way he could make his small town a spot were people wanted to come. He had an idea that most would leave as just that, took what limited resource he had and made something great.  Without prior experience in welding, art, or tourism he took his dream and made it come true.  I felt so connected to him and his project, it was an idea that was not about him or his art it was an inventive way that he used personal capital to draw people into his community. I hope in a small way the group can help him with creating a Facebook page, but I know he has helped me in many more ways. I wish could convey to others what he passed along to me.  It was inspiring, motivating, impressive, and made me want to do something that I only thought of a dream.  I was so impressed with this man and hope to help and follow his success that can be seen on the Enchanted Highway.

I was so thankful for the honesty and openness the two women I did oral histories with in Hettinger.  North Dakota is not just a flat boring state; it’s a place that has many small communities with big people and big ideas.  The museum, Enchanted Highway, and Stories I have heard in these communities is what this state is made up of, and I am really proud to say I have realized this about the state I am getting my education in.  These few words can’t begin to explain what we have experienced in these days so please check out and like our Facebook page UND Stone Soup Bus Tour on to see pictures and more about what’s going on!



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