In 2007, Tom & Nan Riley of Marion, IA donated a train to Camp Courageous.  It included the engine car, a flatbed car, and caboose.  Gerry Rohr, of Monticello, Iowa was quick to volunteer his services to make this dream come true for the nearly 7,000 campers with special needs that come to Camp Courageous each year.   Gerry took full responsibility for the laying of the track, switches, and the train itself.
Gerry Rohr quickly determined the existing train engine was not large enough to pull the many campers that would travel through the woods at one time.  So he ordered a large diesel engine, pulled the old engine out, and put the new one in.  "Gerry was a genius...he could fix or repair anything," according to Charlie Becker, the camp's director and long time friend of Gerry Rohr.  The new engine was just what was needed, as two new passenger cars were designed and added in the next few years.
Along with everything affiliated with the train, Gerry oversaw the camp's three large generators that power the camp during a power outage and he assisted the maintenance staff with hundreds of projects over the years.  "Gerry was always there to help Camp Courageous, at any hour of any day," said Charlie. "Gerry was at that stage of life that he was imparting lots of knowledge to James Kurth, the camp's Maintenance Director," said Charlie, "they had a wonderful relationship."

Gerry's final gift to camp was the expansion of the train to Lake Todd, a newly constructed Lake at Camp Courageous. Gerry, along with several hard-working volunteers, spent the past spring and summer laying the track. All that remained to be done was a little balancing of the track before campers would have the opportunity for a new and longer train ride. Unfortunately, due to Gerry's death of an apparent heart attack, he was not able to take that inaugural ride.

"Gerry brought an incredible amount of joy and happiness into the lives of thousands of campers with special needs.  The train ride was a highlight of their stay at camp.  Gerry leaves a huge void at Camp Courageous, but his legacy lives on with every train ride," said Charlie.

Support the River Cities' Reader

Get 12 Reader issues mailed monthly for $48/year.

Old School Subscription for Your Support

Get the printed Reader edition mailed to you (or anyone you want) first-class for 12 months for $48.
$24 goes to postage and handling, $24 goes to keeping the doors open!

Click this link to Old School Subscribe now.

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher