Fall has made its way to La Salle Manor, although as I write this we’re experiencing a warm stretch with temperatures in the mid to high 70s! Despite that, the trees outside my window are a beautiful tapestry of orange, burgundy, and golden amber, and the temperature is due to drop back to 50 in a few days.
As the seasons change in front of us, it is a reminder that very little in life is permanent. Some may not realize this President’s Letter is not being penned by Bob Dressel. After more than 29 years of service to La Salle Manor, and countless projects and enhancements. Bob and Lori have retired and moved away from the Manor. It is not an understatement to say they transformed La Salle Manor during their time here. From building the staff houses, to paving the driveway, planting the prairie, and creating the labyrinth they did a lot. Even with retirement on the horizon the projects didn’t stop. With the recent completion of the screen-in porch’s conversion to a 3-season room by building permanent walls and windows, we now have even more space for guests on the lodge’s main floor, and a more comfortable space to sit and observe the lake and the forest surrounding it as the seasons change.
At the end of July, in the presence of over 100 benefactors, current and former staff and board members, brothers, their children, and even some of our neighbors, Bob and Lori were honored at our Open House Fundraiser with the 2nd Annual Making a Difference award by our Board of Directors. What I’d like to say about it are two things. First, a huge and heartfelt thank you to everyone who came to show their support for Bob and Lori and The Manor, and to those who couldn’t be present I’m also grateful for your donations in the Dressel’s honor and your prayers for the transition of leadership. Second, an even bigger thank you to Bob and Lori who welcomed me and my family to the Manor and helped make the first 3 months of our time here go as smoothly as possible. I wish them the best in their retirement and expect that we’ve not seen the last of them at 12480 Galena Road.
The ephemerality of the Fall season is also a reminder that the nature, which surrounds and defines the La Salle Manor property, is also not permanent. Just as the leaves will come down in a few more weeks, the trees that hold those leaves will have to come down at some point. For that reason, the first initiative of my presidency I am researching is a Legacy Tree Program. The goal of the La Salle Manor Legacy Tree Program (LSM-LTP) is to ensure that our 47 acres are populated with a healthy variety of trees for as long as the Manor is here. Some of our oak trees are estimated to be close to 200 years old, so if we don’t start a plan to replace them there will be a time where no trees of that maturity remain. Donations to La Salle Manor in 2022 and 2023 will, in-part, help to kickstart this program ensuring our trees remain long after we will.
In closing, I just want to say, I may be new to the La Salle Manor administration, but LSM is not new to me. I have visited here and even led retreats numerous times. My wife and I shared some special memories of our time here before we were even dating over 12 years ago, and I have a number of friends who are excited to come back and rekindle old memories when they visit us here. I feel blessed to have been chosen to lead The Manor and be part of its next season. Thank you for supporting us in the past, and I hope your support will be one thing that stays constant during this season of many changes.
Scott Baietti – President of La Salle Manor