When the Black Diamond Labor Days Committee decided to find someone to bring the Green River Queen float back to life, the choice was easy because there was only one man for the job – Gomer Evans.
The life-long resident and former mayor of the town is the one person everyone knows could bring the community together to get the job done on time for the Labor Day parade.
Evans led a community effort that began in April and ended with the first appearance of the float in more than 50 years in the Labor Day parade.
Evans said many businesses and people from Black Diamond, Maple Valley and the surrounding area who volunteered time, money and muscle to bring the float back.
He said when the committee approached him in April the Green River Queen was parked at the Palmer Coking Coal mine yard. The engine didn’t run, the railings were shot and most of the deck and structure were past saving.
Once Evans assessed what needed to be done, he began bringing people together to help.
“Every little bit helps,” Evans said. “There was a lot donated and a lot of people put in work.”
The original railing, which was PVC, was replaced through a donation from All Around Fence Company in Ravensdale. The new railing was more than 36 feet long plus bow railing.
Evans said the motor initially had no oil pressure. He was able to fix that problem, then Larry Johnson rebuilt the carburetor.
The transmission was locked. Evans And Tom Mulvihill dropped the pan to get it unlocked.
John Morris, owner of TRM Wood Products, donated decking and lumber for the structure.
Evans said Mira Hoke and Patricia Moss did the painting and design work. Johnsons Home and Garden Center in Maple Valley donated the paint.
Jack McCann, Sr. did the rewiring work and McCann Electric donated the wire and receptacles.
Evans took apart a ceiling fan and used the motor to spin the reconstructed paddle wheel.
Shortly after 10 a.m. Monday, the Green River Queen – repainted, restored and rebuilt – rolled down the 101st annual Labor Day parade route. Piloting the float was Evans and the Queen’s passenger was the community.