RANTOUL AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: In Baker's world, nothing is wasted
Rantoul Area Chamber Of Commerce issued the following announcement on Aug. 14.
The bricks beneath Gary Baker’s feet aren’t just any regular bricks.
They are repurposed bricks. Baker likes to take material and use it for other things. In this case, the bricks came from storefronts in the 100 block of East Sangamon Avenue. Water worked its way into the bricks on the top of the building owned by Julie Kiefer and collapsed, bringing down the awnings in front of hers and nearby stores.
Baker said Lawrence Roessler was the contractor to repair the building damage, and he was having the bricks hauled to Martin Trucking and Excavating. Baker got the OK to take some of the bricks.
Baker said he wanted the bricks mainly for aesthetics — to match his back yard.
The project started several weeks ago when Baker recovered hundreds of bricks and reclaimed wood from the area near the Leverett elevator. Baker and his helpers made a new walkway in his garden, which inhabits his entire yard, with the bricks they obtained.
As evidence of his re-using other material, his fence that wraps his front yard is made from recycled wood from an old hay loft.
“I salvage wood, brick, anything I can find,” Baker said. “I have dug up trees along the railroad, landscape boulders.. I have torn down five barns” and re-used the wood.
Baker has a variety of flowers, vegetables and fruits, including lilies, pumpkins, cucumbers, an assortment of peppers, tomatoes and roughly 35 different fruit trees ready to be planted.
The veggies that don’t get eaten fresh are typically canned for later consumption.
Baker’s yard can’t contain it all. He also has a garden extension in a lot behind the Rantoul post office near Brookstone Estates
Baker has also donated numerous tables and benches to the Brookstone area so anybody can have a nicely shaded place to sit and enjoy some fresh air.
The 58-year-old Baker soldiers on despite a litany of health ailments that would keep most people indoors.
A cancer victim, his stomach was removed several years ago. Vertigo and nausea are frequent ailments. Many days he doesn’t feel well enough to venture outdoors.
Other times he is OK to venture out and “piddle around,” working on his yard and other projects. He also likes to quilt.
He credits several friends with helping him, among them Jim Fowler, Steven and Kimberly Lake and Lucas Millikin.
Original source can be found here.