The community of Patagonia formally celebrated the dedication of Doc Mock Park on Nov. 12. An appreciative crowd of about 50 gathered around the gazebo and the Welcome Center caboose to hear remarks from the project’s many partners.
Master of Ceremonies Caleb Weaver, Chair of the Town’s Tree and Park Committee and ringleader of the whole endeavor, provided the history, introduced the speakers, and thanked the many contributors.
Several members of the late Doc Mock’s family were present for the dedication, with some traveling from as far away as Georgia. Doc Mock’s daughter Noni regaled the audience with stories about her late father, who was the general practitioner for the Patagonia area in the days when doctors made house calls. Doc Mock delivered most of the babies in the area, including a number who were in the audience. He also served as the anesthesiologist at the Nogales hospital because, as Noni recalled, he was allergic to latex gloves and so could not do the surgeries. She made Doc Mock real for those who did not know him and said that he would be very pleased to have the park named after him.
Vice Mayor Michael Stabile, representing the Town, thanked everyone involved in making Doc Mock Park a reality. Bob Procter spoke on behalf of the Patagonia Museum about Doc Mock’s contributions to the community. Linda Shore, president of the Sky Island Tourism Association (SITA), told the story of how the caboose came to Patagonia. SITA members have worked hard to restore it and are organizing volunteers to staff the new welcome center.
Matt Nelson, Executive Director of the Arizona Trails Association (ATA), introduced the new kiosk in Doc Mock Park, one of seven that the ATA has installed across the state.
Jordan Sene, who directs the Borderlands Earth Care Youth (BECY) program for Borderlands Restoration Network, brought an interactive poster board describing the planting of 76 trees in Doc Mock Park by local youth in the BECY. Anna Coleman, Director of the Patagonia Youth Enrichment Center, said that the collaboration with the Town and Borderlands was a great learning experience for the youth.
Cassina Farley, Director of the Patagonia Creative Arts Association (PCAA), pointed out the flags flying under the gazebo roof that were made by kids from the after-school program at PCAA, the Art Makers. The pictures on the flags are of the trees.
Planning for the park began in 2015. Funding was provided by the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Arizona Parks and Trails, South32, and proceeds from tree sales.
Mary McKay, Caleb Weaver, and Kate Tirion were the principal Doc Mock Park designers. The 76 trees were purchased by locals to commemorate loved ones. Each tree has a plaque identifying who is being honored. Kevin McKay built the gazebo. The Mountain Empire Rotary Club installed the peace pole.