Wakarusa community breaks ground on ‘Doc’s Pavilion’

Published: Jun. 17, 2022 at 8:47 PM EDT
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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - On Friday, the Wakarusa community broke ground on Doc’s Pavilion.

Dr. Robert “Doc” Abel, who the Pavilion will be named after, was a community activist, philanthropist, and physician who proudly delivered over 10,000 babies in his 60+ year medical career.

Now the community is observing his lifelong service by naming their new pavilion in his honor.

Andy Roeder, Doc’s grandson, is leading the charge of facilitating this project.

“A group of people came to our family and suggested that we do something to honor his legacy and we were hesitant at first. We didn’t necessarily want to call attention to him but if we could do something good to kind of further the things that he cared about, and he loved this downtown. He owned a number of buildings and he just loved the community. And so, I feel good; you know, I think he’d be proud,” said Andy Roeder, VP of Finance for Doc’s Pavilion Committee.

The $1.2 million dollar project will host reunions, weddings, and various other events that bring the community together, something that Doc’s family said was near and dear to his heart.

“I’m super blessed to live in a community that is willing to give back. You know, we raised over a million dollars to get this done. People wanted to give back in his honor but also for the town, for the community, and I just feel really fortunate and blessed to live in this community.”

The Community Foundation of Elkhart County granted $250,000 to the project and an additional $350,000 came from further community resources.

The land was previously a Henschen gas station and was donated by the Henschen family to the town of Wakarusa for the purpose of being something the community could use.

Brown and Brown are being used as the general contractor for the project. They were selected because they maintain a strong presence in Wakarusa, and they were also the lowest bigger for the project.

The project is set to be completed sometime this fall, but they are still looking for donations. If you’d like to donate to Wakarusa’s Doc Pavilion, follow the steps below.

How to Give

You can donate via Check, Card, or Appreciated Asset (stock gift)

• Check

• Check Payable: Community Foundation of Elkhart County

Memo line: Doc’s Pavilion

• Mail to: Community Foundation of Elkhart County

PO Box 2932

Elkhart, IN 46515

• Credit Card

• Choose “Designate to a Specific Program” and enter “Doc’s Pavilion”

• Appreciated Asset or Stock

Contact Carrie Berghoff, Chief Development Officer


Phone: 574-295-8761

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