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Couple starts trust fund for Cacapon State Park

 

Journal photo by Chelsea DeMello From left, Cacapon State Park Foundation president Jim Michael, Susan Kirchner, Dale Kirchner and park superintendent Tom Ambrose during this weekend’s 18th annual homecoming celebration. Susan and Dale Kirchner announced that they will be the trustees of a $200,000 charitable trust fund for the foundation.
Journal photo by Chelsea DeMello
From left, Cacapon State Park Foundation president Jim Michael, Susan Kirchner, Dale Kirchner and park superintendent Tom Ambrose during this weekend’s 18th annual homecoming celebration. Susan and Dale Kirchner announced that they will be the trustees of a $200,000 charitable trust fund for the foundation.

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. –The Cacapon State Park Foundation had more than just an 18th Annual Homecoming to celebrate this weekend when foundation president Jim Michael announced they will soon become the beneficiary of a charitable trust fund.

During the annual Labor Day tradition, Michael announced to a packed crowd that the CSPF would be the recipient of a $200,000 charitable trust fund based on a 5 percent yearly return.

Dale and Susan Kirchner donated the $200,000 for the yearly investment and will be the trustees of the fund, according to the announcement.

“The purpose for the yearly return is to ensure that there is a steady stream of income for a long period of time,” said Dale.

As a longtime visitor to the park, Dale Kirchner said the workers at Cacapon have made him feel like family.

“It’s like the TV show ‘Cheers.’ When you walk in, everyone is like, ‘hey, it’s the Kirchners,'” he said.

In response to the announcement, Tom Ambrose, Cacapon State Park superintendent, said he is very pleased with the funding.

“It’s very nice because the employees had something to do with it,” he said.

During the summer, Cacapon State Park has an average of 300 to 400 employees, according to Ambrose.

The Kirchners said they also chose to setup a charitable trust fund because of civil responsibility.

Dale and Susan compared the service to that of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a program that helped unemployed men find jobs during the depression.

“You come into this world, you die and you hope that you do something in between that’s going to outlive you,” Dale Kirchner said.

Berkeley Springs Mayor Susan Webster called the contributions made by the Kirchners “humbling and flattering.”

“It’s humbling in that people would be so gratuitous and charitable to an organization like CSPF, and flattering that they hold us in such high regard,” she said.

By providing a return each year to the park, Webster hopes the park will be able to match the money with other sources such as grants and donations.

“Whatever money comes from this will be stretched. We don’t get a lot of money in Morgan County,” Webster said.

The Kirchners held their wedding reception at Cacapon State Park three years ago, and Dale Kirchner said he has been coming to the park for more than 40 years.

A native of Baltimore, Dale Kirchner currently teaches at the Maryland School for the Blind. Susan, who is also not from this area, moved from South Carolina to teach at Towson University as the dance department chairperson.

Recently, the Kirchners purchased a home in Berkeley Springs close to the park.

“I basically have a 6,000-acre park that’s like my backyard,” Dale Kirchner said.

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