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Blackledge Park shelter dedicated to teen who died in Fire Lake drowning

Blackledge Park shelter dedicated to teen who died in Fire Lake drowning

Blackledge Park shelter dedicated to teen who died in Fire Lake drowning

Carland family members sit on the bench underneath the shelter donated by Frank Carland in memory of his grandson Franklin Carland, who died May 5 in an accidental drowning. On the bench are Franklin’s brother Patrick Carland, left; mom, Crystal Carland; stepdad, Bruce Swanson; and sister Emma Swanson. Behind them are grandparents Katie Park, left, and Frank and Sandi Carland.

A shelter in a downtown park stands in memory of Franklin Carland, who died May 5 in an accidental drowning at Fire Lake.

He would have celebrated his 17th birthday Friday. His grandfather, Frank Carland, paid for the shelter that sits in Blackledge Park on the north side of Whitetail Screen Print on North Jeffers Street.

Carland was a board member for Keep North Platte and Lincoln County Beautiful for many years and originally wanted to put in a bench as a tribute to the organization.

“When my grandson passed away, I wanted to do the memorial thing, and I thought in the original plans (for the park) we had a couple of picnic tables,” Carland said. “So I thought, let’s go ahead and throw one in.”

The shelter is a place where Carland said family and friends can share memories of his grandson.

“He was cremated and my daughter has his ashes, so this can be a place where his friends and family can come and feel like they’re around him,” Carland said.

KNPLCB Executive Director Mona Anderson read a short piece as part of the dedication ceremony.

“I do know many in the Carland family, and from all of the stories and memories told to me,” Anderson said, “I know that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.”

She said the entire family exemplifies “salt-of-the-earth people” who care deeply for each other and their community.

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