It’s a chilly November morning as Ron Trader stands outside on the deck in Felton with a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other. This is Trader’s morning ritual.
“I think this is a power spot right here,” Trader said. “I can recharge, feel better. I know a lot of other people come to sit on the deck during the day, and just be.”
Trader is referring to the Felton Community Deck, which is an open wood platform in the heart of downtown Felton. The deck, which was built in 1991 by volunteers, has gone through some wear and tear and needed an uplift.
“There were screws loose and I even put my foot through one of the boards,” said Trader, who lives in Felton.
A few months ago, Margaret Ingraham, the Santa Cruz County Parks Volunteer Coordinator, walked by the deck and exchanged information with Trader. The Felton Community Deck is one of the small parks the County Parks Department maintains. “Trader immediately contacted me asking how he could volunteer to help repair the deck,” Ingraham said. “When Ron brought this to my attention, he pointed out all the things that needed repairs, and he was willing to do it all.”
Trader worked with workers from the County Parks Department to assist with power washing, sanding, and staining the wood. Maintenance workers from the County Parks Department did all the repairs of replacing the wood panels. The total project took about four months to finish.
“The process and communication was easy. Ron is so well known here in the community,” Ingraham said. “It takes volunteers who are passionate about it, then I just make it happen and support them how I can.”
It seems only fitting the project to repair the deck was led by a volunteer, as the deck was first built by the same stroke of volunteerism. In 1991, the 700-square-foot redwood deck was the result of a group of approximately 30 volunteers organizing together to build the project.
Trader, 62, has lived in Felton for over 20 years with his four children who all attended schools in San Lorenzo Valley. According to him, the Community Deck is the hub of Felton. “I am just tickled. Working with Margaret has been nothing but a breeze. I am always the one that will help change a tire, etc. but this was the ultimate help. To help make a safe place for people to come and enjoy.”
The repairing of the Community Deck came just in time for the annual Christmas tree lighting in Felton on Nov. 23, where residents gather to celebrate the holiday with caroling, pictures with Santa, and watch the tree lighting, hosted by the Felton Business and Community Association.
“It is amazing to meet people in the community who want to volunteer. It will never stop warming my heart,” Ingraham said.
Trader said he hopes this helps encourage other people in the community to volunteer locally.
“Maybe other people will step up and find other projects to help,” Trader said. “There is a lot of stuff to be done.”