The Blaine County Journal News-Opinion - We've Got The County Covered

Funding Efforts Continue for Pool and Park Foundation


January 27, 2021

Treasure State Title Company made a donation to the Friends of the Pool and Park Foundation last week. Co-owners Steve Zellmer and Lesley Zellmer present a check to three representatives of the Foundation: Jessica Aberg (Treasurer), Heather DePriest (President), and Heather Huravitch (Member at Large).

Although the Wishing Tree only generated about $200 for the Friends of the Pool and Park Foundation, the group saw two sizeable donations: one in December and another in January.

President of the Foundation, Heather DePriest announced on January 20 that Steve and Lesley Zellmer of Treasure State Title Company in Chinook donated $1,000 toward improvements to the Pool and Park.

"We are so thankful for the amazing businesses in our community. If you see the Zellmer family, be sure to give them a big thank you for investing in our community. Thank you, Treasure State Title Company for your amazing donation," DePriest stated.

About the Treasure State Title Company's donation, co-owner Lesley Zellmer said, "The Park and the Pool are both huge assets to our community, and we want to see them continue as places for the youth to treasure. Our girls spend so much time there in the summertime, and we have the capacity to help with monetary resources since work and family otherwise consume our time."

In December, Karen Schellin sent several photographs of swimmers accompanied by a generous Christmas donation made in honor of her siblings and their spouses: BJ Schellin, Brent (Nancy) Schellin, Nellie Jo (Dick) Nicholson, Susette Schellin, and their children and grandchildren-all of whom "have spent many happy hours at the pool and park," according to Schellin.

In her letter to the Foundation, Schellin also wrote: "I was a member of the Chinook swim team for many years, and although I was unremarkable, I have so many great memories of our trips and swim meets. Swim Team was one of the only sports girls participated in at that time, as there were no organized sports for girls in school until after I graduated."

She continues, "The summer after I graduated from high school in 1971, I lifeguarded at the old pool, which was at the other end of the block from where the pool is now. That summer, I taught my youngest sister to swim. . . . She was a lifeguard at the 'new' pool in the summers of 1985-1986."

The Schellin family's use of the pool spans several generations. Many of Karen's nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews are current or former swim team members, and all claim to have enjoyed many happy summers in Chinook's facility.

About Schellin's donation, DePriest said, "The Friends of the Pool & Park Foundation thank Karen for her donation and her commitment to ensure that the city pool remains a beautiful and functional part of our community for generations to come. Thank you, Karen Schellin for your true generosity."

Anyone who has a similar connection to the pool is encouraged to consider a tax-deductible donation which can be made in a family's honor or memory. Interested donors can use the convenient online platform available on the Foundation's website: or can send a donation by mail in care of the Foundation to 40440 US Hwy 2 East; Chinook, MT 59523.

In other fundraising efforts, the Foundation has also established a link for those who shop on Amazon. By using this link, shoppers can support the Friends of the Pool and Park Foundation. "We hope you will consider shopping local, but for those hard-to-find items, give our Amazon link a whirl," the Foundation's website and Facebook page both invite.

In their meeting on Monday, January 18, the Board discussed several plans and updates. DePriest reported: "We have officially hired our Engineer, and he will be starting on the full evaluation of the project soon. Our next advancement in the project is to fundraise for each phase once we know the total cost from the Engineer. We are in limbo at the moment until we receive his final documents. Obviously, we are still fundraising, though, and we have plans for an event in June, Covid-permitting."

DePriest also encouraged interested individuals to visit the Foundation's website for updates and announcements. She described the website as a place not only for information but for "posting all of our happenings and progress."

About the Wishing Tree's small showing, Member at Large, Kelsey Harry said, "I think Covid restrictions really hurt our money making efforts there. People weren't hanging out in the Pharmacy and shopping like they normally would, so the tree didn't see many donations or many wishes. But maybe it's something to try again next year when things have hopefully gotten back to normal."


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