The Land: New fairgrounds building honors memory of Kaitlynn Scott.

November 22, 2019

Kaitlynn Scott

The Land: New fairgrounds building honors memory of Kaitlynn Scott.

The Land is series telling the stories about local agriculture. It is a presentation of Peterson Farms.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

HART — The tight-knit 4-H community tragically lost a star member last summer when 14-year-old Kaitlynn Scott’s life was cut short. Both Kaitlynn and her father Eric Scott were killed after being hit by a farm truck while they were out for a jog with their dog on Webster Road in Grant Township the evening of June 3. Their dog also died. While the tragedy rocked the community, citizens came together to honor Kaitlynn and her father with the construction of a beautiful concession/registration/ announcers booth for horse shows on the Oceana County Fairgrounds. It is called the Scott Family Memorial Building.

At the front of the building is a metal railing that displays Kaitlynn’s initials — KS — with a horseback rider and the phrase, “Always smile.”

Kaitlynn, an avid rider, was well-known for her positive attitude and dazzling smile. She often reminded her peers to “always smile.”

Chad Coker, who owns Appletree Automotive, took it upon himself to construct the building. His daughter, Chloe, and Kaitlynn were friends and they showed horses together at the Oceana County Fair, he said. “I wanted to build a memorial,” he said. Amazingly, shortly after Coker announced his plan, the local community swooped into action to help. “In one week, I had the budget raised. Money kept coming in, so I expanded it.”

A total of $12,000 was raised to make the memorial building a reality. “People just kept dropping off checks,” Coker said. “A lot of people were involved.”

Not only does the memorial building dramatically improve the fairgrounds, but there is hope that it will bring some healing to Kaitlynn’s mom, Kim Scott. “We’re hoping it will give her a little bit of peace,” said Oceana County Agricultural Society President/Manager Paul Erickson. “It gives her a positive to focus on, and the kids need to remember what Kaitlynn was all about.” Kaitlynn loved animals and was brave enough to show a mule — an animal known for its stubbornness — in the fair and was also raising turkeys.

The new building will benefit 4-H and the Horse Development Council, allowing for an overnight horse show event at the fairgrounds, Erickson said. “The horse program will grow.”

“There has been tremendous support from the 4-H Family, which went above and beyond,” Erickson said. “Chad has been out here in all kinds of weather, and took it all upon himself.”

Coker began the building in September and is getting close to completion. He said he knows the community is behind him in his efforts as passers-by honk their horns when he’s working. He received some help from Dean Wiegand, an Oceana County sheriff’s deputy, doing the shingling on the roof. Coker credits his wife Amanda, a lifelong equestrian, for helping out with the project.

The new 24-by-24 foot building is approximately three times the size of the its predecessor, which resembled an ice shanty.

The railing and metal design in the peak were custom made at Coker’s shop.

In addition to the many individuals who contributed, the following are businesses and organizations that funded the project: Harbor Design & Contruction, Ruggles & Son Masonry, Penz Insulation, Montague Standard Supply & Lumber, Wadel Stabilization Inc., Silver lake Pizza Factory, Whitehall Little Caesar’s Pizza, the Robin Bradley Memorial Fund, Lewis Farms & Petting Zoo, White Lake Agency Inc., White Lake Family Dentistry, White Lake Pet Practice, Shoreline Insurance Agency, the Muskegon Professional Firefighters Union, Creative Freight Services LLC, K&S Garage Door, Merten’s Farmhouse Market LLC, Tanner Plumbing & Heating and Appletree Automotive.

When tragedy strikes a small community, heroes put on their capes and get to work.

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This story is copyrighted © 2019, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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