The Swine Memorial Barn is now the envy of the McHenry County Fairgrounds, standing as a memorial to three young Huntley 4-H Club members, Jennifer Kearns, Kevin Ziller and Grant Fruin.
"Some of the kids who show their animals in other counties have told us this is the nicest barn they've seen," Carol Fruin said. "They say it's even nicer than the barns at the Illinois State Fair."
The memorial barn project began in April after the Kearns, Ziller and Fruin families, who all live near each other in rural Huntley, began discussing how to spend the memorials each family received in honor of the three.
All three families were active in the a 4-H group. Jennifer and Grant were members of the Huntley Pioneers and Kevin was a member of the Huntley Harvesters. Jennifer, Grant and Kevin spent their summers at the fairgrounds.
Renovations were completed just days ago, said Carol Fruin, Grant’s mom. She estimated that more than $200,000 in donations helped fund the renovations. Several local businesses, including Intren Union, Plote Construction and Illinois Hydraulic, donated money to the effort.
Plus, several local tradesmen (plumbers, electricians) volunteered their time, talent and supplies to make improvements, Carol Fruin said.
"We also had tons of 4-H kids and kids who aren't in 4-H show up and help," Carol said. "And they had to do some dirty work."
The barn now has metal fenced stalls, a cement floor, stalls to wash the animals in and a cement sewer drainage system that helps keep the barn - and surrounding area - sanitary.