BORON – Rio-Tinto Borates & Lithium operations in Boron made good on a promise they made to the community of Boron on April 22, 2021: to match every dollar, which was raised through fundraising efforts for the Boron Community Pool Restoration Project.
Marybeth Garrison who is in charge of Government and Community Affairs with Rio-Tinto along with several members of the community and Muroc Joint Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Cordes brazed the 100 plus degree heat when the check was presented to the district underneath the thermometer in downtown Boron on Sept. 8th.
As we’ve been reporting for the last 5 months, fundraising efforts got underway in April when Jerry Gallegos, Mitch Naka’ahiki and a few others approached Kern County 2nd District Supervisor Zack Scrivner who appointed his field representative Laura Lynne Wyatt about restoring the community swimming pool. The pool has been in the community for nearly 60 years and is part of the Muroc Joint Unified School District. Over the years, age, weather conditions and neglect has caused the pool to become unusable and as a result, broken concrete, rebar showing through the bottom of the pool, water lines and drainage systems need replaced, a new deck needs to be built, etc. Mr. Gallegos formed a group called Better Boron and with the help of Marybeth Garrison, fundraising efforts began; during which time she stated that Rio-Tinto would “match” any and all donations taken in for the restoration of the pool.
In May of this year, we sat down with Mrs. Garrison and Mr. Gallegos and interviewed them both as to the update on the project; we also had an interview with Mr. David Wiggs who was principal at Boron Jr. Sr. High School at the time and Bella Job who was the 7th Grade Class President at the time. Mr. Wiggs informed the students that he would “shave his head” if they raised a certain amount for the restoration (which he did). Mrs. Garrison told us during our interview in May that, “I got a call from the supervisor (Zack Scrivner) who told me the community needed help with the pool; I went to the school then went to my manager and told them about what was going on and what was needed. The mine guys had bought raffle tickets and really have supported this project; I gathered the troops to get this done”. Mr. Gallegos told us in May that $41,000 of the $65,000 was raised so far by people all over the area and even from alumni from around the country because they remember using the pool during the summertime; donations continued to pour into the little community of Boron and in July, it was announced that “WE DID IT” the $65,000 needed to start the restoration was raised. Boron Alive, which is a non-profit organization in Boron, held onto the funds throughout this effort and 2 months after it was announced, Rio-Tinto made good on their promise.
On Wednesday, Sept. 8th, Boron Alive presented a check to the Muroc Joint Unified School District for $65,000 and as promised, Rio-Tinto Borates & Lithium also presented a check to the district for $65,000; accepting the checks was Muroc Joint Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Cordes.
“On behalf of the Muroc Joint Unified School District, to each and every one of you and those you represent, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts” Cordes is quoted as saying.
It’s unclear at this time when the restoration on the pool will begin and according to Mrs. Garrison, she has a cleaning crew ready to go to get the pool area cleaned so the restoration can begin. “I believe that we’re going to have this happen and we’re going to have a brand new swimming pool in the summer of 2022; that is our goal and I hope to have a bar-be-que and we’re going to celebrate it because this will be a job well done” Garrison told us in May.
Stay tuned for more updates on the Boron Community Pool Restoration.