by Moira Cullings
MOUND CITY — Larry Lemon is spending his retirement years keeping St. Rose Philippine Duchesne’s legacy alive.
He volunteers as the park manager for the St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Memorial Park.
“He does a lot of thankless work out at the park to keep things going on a regular basis,” said Father Barry Clayton, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, La Cygne; Sacred Heart, Mound City; and St. Philip Neri, Osawatomie.
Lemon, a parishioner at St. Philip Neri, was honored with the Duchesne Award at Sacred Heart Church on Nov. 19 after a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann and concelebrated by Father Clayton.
The award has been given out annually since 2006.
Lemon is a member of the Knights of Columbus, who are in charge of the park’s upkeep.
Part of his job is keeping the park clean and meeting with groups visiting the park, offering tours and making sure they’re accommodated during their visit.
He’s also served as president of the park board and now serves as president of the St. Duchesne Memorial Park Endowment Fund.
Lemon worked for the Department of the Army for 40 years as an Army civilian before he retired as a lieutenant colonel in 2012.
During the award ceremony, Father Clayton thanked Lemon for his service to the country.
“And Larry continues that service now, today, in a very special way in the church,” he said, “through the care of the park. The care of the park is very important, as we all understand, because a canonized saint of our church lived there.
“And so, the care, the upkeep, the promotion of that park is very needed so that we can promote St. Philippine for God’s glory and help draw many people closer to the Lord.”
Archbishop Naumann also thanked Lemon for his dedication.
“The archdiocese is grateful to Larry for making the park accessible and beautiful for those that come there,” he said.
For Lemon, the work is a joy.
“As I told Father [Clayton],” he said, “there’s a lot of people who are just as qualified, if not more qualified than I am, to receive this award.
“I really believe it’s a privilege for me to go to the park and work.”
Father Clayton appreciated the chance to honor Lemon for his devotion.
“Larry is so helpful in promoting St. Philippine,” he said. “I’m glad to be able to have the opportunity to honor him and express gratitude.”