Beeson family resolves against vandalism
The recent vandalism to the Beeson Family Bluebird Trail was shocking and disappointing according to Alma Beeson, whose late husband, Lawrence, started the trail. However, the family has already started rebuilding and replacing the destroyed bluebird boxes.
Beeson explained that the vandals destroyed boxes near U Hwy toward Sparks Cemetery and down in Hungry Hollow. Most of the vandalism occurred on a Friday night, but continued on Saturday night, even vandalizing the box at the end of Beeson's driveway.
"Some were just knocked and others looked like they had taken a sledgehammer and pulverized them," Beeson said.
Currently, neither the Barry County Sheriff's Department nor the Missouri Department of Conservation have any leads on who committed the vandalism.
According to Barry County Chief Deputy Leonard Collins, his department never received a report of the vandalism of the bluebird boxes.
Similarly, Dan VanDerhoef, conservation agent with the Missouri Department of Conservation, explained that his office was not aware of the incident until it took a couple of phone calls asking about the vandalism.
Beeson said she is unsure how many boxes the family has made over the years but guessed there were approximately 250 set up around the area. Out of these the vandals destroyed 50 to 60. The Beeson Bluebird Trail covers many of the side roads spanning from Hwy 248 to Butterfield.
"Out of the pickup load of pieces Lloyd picked up he salvaged enough for 16 to 18 boxes, and the rest was unusable," Beeson said.
Lloyd is one of the sons of Alma and Lawrence, and according to Alma, he builds and repairs the majority of the bluebird boxes.
"It was disheartening to us because it was Lawrence's project, and we were keeping it going in his memory," Beeson said, "but they didn't lick us, and we are going to put them right back out there."
Anyone with information on the vandalism can call the Operation Game Thief line at 1-800-392-1111. Information can also be relayed directly to the conservation agents working the area: Dan VanDerhoef 342-5579 or Daniel Shores 229-4706.
Individuals can also file a report or provide information to the Barry County Sheriff's Department at 847-6556.
The Beeson family has received several phone calls of support from the community and even donations of lumber to help replace the damaged boxes.
"I feel sorry for the kids that did it in a way, because I know eventually they are going to regret that they did it," Beeson said. "I am hoping this will open their eyes and they can learn from it."