Some residents from Eatonia Oasis Living were out and about recently, and treated to some ice cream during a perfect summer day thanks to local Lions Club member Craig Bews and the team from the local Nutrien Ag Solutions.

West Central Online called into the assisted living facility to learn a little bit more about the recent outing, and Activity Director Mandy Lavallee was more than happy to share how the day got organized. The train conductor Bews has promised to make use of the "Martin Express", a special creation by an Eatonia local made just for the town's recent centennial celebration.

"He's lined up a few days to come by and pick them up, take them around town for a ride," said Lavallee before talking about the ice cream excursion, "They went down to the 21-44 store, and then Nutrien and some of their staff met them there and bought some ice cream!" 

Even though the crew picked a pretty hot day everyone still loved it, as a big thanks goes out to Kiley Swan & Randi Somerville with Nutrien Ag Solutions who were very kind to sponsor the ice cream treat.

The seniors have enjoyed every chance they got to ride the Martin Express, beginning with the aforementioned parade back at the beginning of June. Proud of everyone's contributions towards the special ride, Lavallee provided some more background information on why the train is so special through an email afterwards.

"The "Martin Express" was designed by our very own, 96 year old, Lloyd Martin. His dream was to have it built to ride in the Eatonia Centennial Parade & our local Lions Club made his dreams come true," she wrote, eager to share such a feel good story, "Myself, my boss Cora, and five residents boarded the ride driven by Lions members Craig Bews & Richard King for the parade, and the community was overjoyed to see the results. Mr. Martin's eyes were filled with tears the entire trip around town, and the other residents that helped to decorate were so proud when we went by."

Since the Eatonia Centennial event was years in the making, the Martin Express was just another feature that had to wait some time before unveiling itself to the public. Now after a very successful debut showing at the parade, and some ancillary tasks now being performed in town, it is reaching it's full potential.

Unfortunately for the namesake of the train Martin, his idea will have to live on in his memory after he passed away recently.

"He actually unfortunately passed away this week. He passed the day after they went for this train ride," said Lavallee in sorrow.

Despite the terrible news and timing in the West Central community, thankfully Martin got to see his dream come to fruition. Much like everything planned for the Eatonia Centennial originally supposed to be held in 2020, the Martin Express was locked away until this year.

"It was built for the Centennial. It was in the making for a long time."

Craig Bews already had plans to keep the train going for the residents to enjoy more trips, and now will have even more reason to help celebrate the life and accomplishments of the Martin Express' namesake.