B.I. Lions Club honors one of their own

Fri, 06/10/2022 - 1:00pm

The Block Island Lions Club invited the community to Ball O’Brien Park on Sunday with the promise of free food and a surprise announcement.
As people slowly ambled their ways up the hill to the picnic pavilion, Lions Club members set out a lunch of hot-dogs and hamburgers with Rob Closter at the grill. Lion Molly O’Neill served as emcee and as the ceremonies got started, she spoke about the role of the Lions Club in the development of the park, which is owned by the Town of New Shoreham and the Block Island Land Trust.
The Block Island Lions are responsible for the funding, and building of many of the park’s features, including the playground equipment, which O’Neill estimated was donated 25 years ago, and the skateboard area, built and dedicated to the memory of Ian Kortbek, in 2003. More recently the Lions built the pavilion and furnished it with picnic tables and grills for the public to use, and cut a walking path around three sides of the park with plans to install exercise stations along it in the future.
But the big announcement of the day was revealing the new name for the path: the Adrian Mitchell Trail.
Highways Supervisor and Lions Club member Mike Shea had erected the new signs for the trail earlier in the morning.
Mitchell looked both surprised and a little bit embarrassed, when he heard the name of the trail, but it was easy to tell he was pleased as punch.
Mitchell was the preserve caretaker for The Nature Conservancy, maintaining Block Island’s network of trails from 1998 to 2014. Before that he worked for and led the Highways Department for 37 years.
At The Nature Conservancy, Mitchell assembled a group of volunteers to help in trail maintenance that became known as Adrian’s Army. The Army still meets every Wednesday morning and goes out to work with clippers and loppers in hand. Army member Charles McMellon gave a little speech as a tribute to Adrian for all the work he inspired and his service to the island in conservation.
In closing remarks, O’Neill encouraged everyone to come out and enjoy the Adrian Mitchell Trail. “And bring your clippers,” she said.