Kevin, Ryan & Taylor Deighan:

Chairmen of the Boards

A Year In Their Lives

December 28, 2003|By Larry Bingham

When the commissioners of St. Michaels in Talbot County told assistant town manager Terry Deighan to build a park for skateboarders, they pledged $20,000 toward the project. It was enough to build a park, maybe not enough to buy everything the kids wanted, but a generous amount in a year of tight budgets.

Deighan went home and told her three sons, who are all into skateboarding. And from that day forward, money was not a problem.

While the boys -- Kevin, 16, Ryan, 14, and Taylor, 11 -- pored over every skating magazine Deighan brought home and began to doodle park designs, townspeople started raising money.

Business owners, happy to have skateboarders off the sidewalks and out of the way of tourists, made donations and set collection jars on their counters. Police, who wouldn't have to shoo skaters from parking lots where they weren't allowed, held a raffle. The Inn at Perry Cabin resort donated a weekend for two. The boys and their friends went door-to-door selling tickets. The town held a yard sale, and one business owner, Debbie Schultz, had her son sell snow cones on the sidewalk during the peak tourist season.

A year and a half after Deighan was given the job -- and three years after a former chief of police came up with the idea -- the amount of money privately raised was equal to the amount the town gave: $20,000.

Deighan's husband, Kevin Deighan, borrowed a friend's Bobcat backhoe and did the excavation to save money, and the St. Michaels skate park opened Oct. 16 with more bells and whistles than anyone had imagined. Deighan's sons had visited other parks -- Exodus in Berlin, Atonement in Kent Island, Ocean Bowl in Ocean City -- and made a wish list of what the St. Michaels park needed. They got their quarter-pipe ramps for speed, their grind rails and kinked rails, their wedges, boxes and steps for tricks. There was just one thing they could not afford: a pyramid with a ledge.

Deighan was not been surprised by the passion her boys -- or the town -- put into the project. St. Michaels, she said, is that kind of place. As for her three sons, skateboarding is more than a passing fancy.

What did surprise her was the telephone call two months after the park opened. The town manager of Centreville had heard that St. Michaels had opened a park, and he wanted to know if they'd like to buy a piece of expensive equipment cheap.

Deighan didn't tell her sons about it the day town commissioners agreed to the purchase. She waited until the pyramid arrived and was installed so they could discover for themselves what hard work and a sense of community had bought.

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