Phase 2 – Splash Pad Ribbon Cutting!

Contact:  Bob Francis, Project Manager

auusmeagle@aol.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  256.227.3483

  “A DEFINING MOMENT!”

GRAND OPENING OF THE SPLASH PAD AT THE
JOHN MARK STALLINGS SPECIAL NEEDS ACCESSIBLE PLAYGROUND (SNAP) OF MORGAN COUNTY

Hartselle, AL- The Grand Opening of the Splash Pad which is Phase 2 of the John Mark Stallings SNAP of Morgan County playground at 406 Nance Ford Road in Hartselle marked “A Defining Moment” on Saturday, July 24, 2010, toward enrichment of the lives of Morgan County and regional special needs children and their families, as well as all other children.

This was an extensive and inclusive heartfelt moment for the many who have contributed their time, talent and resources toward completion of this magnificently worthy project, with a price tag of $237,000. Bob Francis, Project Manager, personally thanked the faithful volunteers within the SNAP organization for their 3 ½ years of “labor of love.”

Many community and civic leaders, volunteers, individuals, parents, grandparents and children participated in this exciting event.To observe the participating special needs children, who represent 1700 of their peers in Morgan County, confirmed that it has all been worthwhile.

Along the way, since December 19, 2006, there have been many humbling and inspiring moments and experiences: (1) 50 cents donated by a 10-yr old girl from Tullahoma, TN; (2) A $5.00 check drawn from the prisoner`s account from an inmate at Atmore; (3) Major cash donations along with the donor`s request to perform in-kind service; (4) Dedication of SNAP in memory of John Mark Stallings; (5) Decatur Daily staff members “Make a Difference Day” garden, enhancing SNAP in memory of Reece Cosby; (6) Expressed appreciation by donors for allowing them to participate in the project – and so many, many more.

Experiences such as these and the widespread and continual encouragement and support within and outside Morgan County have been the sources of inspiration and energy for SNAP volunteers to “continue the march” toward completion of the entire complex of the John Mark Stallings SNAP of Morgan County, estimated to cost $650,000 not including in-kind services. With Phase 1, the special swing area completed in 2008, and now this Phase 2 splash pad, there remains the Phase 3 main playground, estimated to cost $365,000. This amount must be raised before Phase 3 construction can begin.

Among the many providing continual encouragement, support and inspiration is a man who has dedicated his life to improving the lives of others. He has consistently demonstrated this throughout his life. Three years ago, he wrote a letter to the SNAP organization expressing his advocacy for the SNAP project and pledging his support “to bring this inspiring dream to a reality.” He has honored this commitment through both his personal financial support and his influential support as our State Senator, Arthur Orr, who has enabled the award of significant grants for SNAP.

Susan Hines began the grand opening ceremony with remarks about the sign at the entry of the splash pad which recognizes donors of $1000 or more.Rev. Jerry Smith offered the Invocation.Doug Moss recognized the construction team and Bob Francis introduced the guest speaker, Senator Orr, who spoke words of encouragement to all.On behalf of the SNAP volunteers, all donors and especially the benefiting children of SNAP, Bob Francis presented a plaque to Senator Orr as a visible reminder of sincere appreciation for his encouragement and support.Mayor Dwight Tankersley presented closing remarks and performed the ribbon cutting.

It was a joy to see the children and their siblings, parents and grandparents rushing to the Splash Pad to enjoy the water park on such a beautiful Saturday with the summer weather approaching 100 degrees!Children in wheelchairs spinning about in the water, grandparents, parents and siblings pushing young children in wheelchairs through the water, other children running through the water, and all of them playing together with big smiles on their faces was an awesome sight!Others gathered around to watch and photograph the fun-filled event!

The beauty of this splash pad is that any child can play in the water at each play station regardless of his or her ability – this facility is totally special needs accessible and usable.The facility will be open from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, seven days weekly until mid September, and utilization by all children is encouraged.

The SNAP complex was dedicated in memory of John Mark Stallings in November, 2008 with John Mark’s father, Coach Gene Stallings, participating in a compelling ceremony at the site. The remarkable life of John Mark, enhanced through the caring and love of others, serves to epitomize the purpose of SNAP.His life taught us that every life matters and that anyone, no matter how significant in society`s eyes can make a positive impact on others.

John Mark’s legacy shall be reminded to all those who pass through the planned, striking entryway to the complex. The entire complex offers opportunities, which were previously limited or nonexistent, to special needs children and their families.The lives of these children are significantly improved through association and participation in activities with other children who have no physical constraints. They gain self-confidence and feel more worthy and useful.Other children more readily accept them as peers. Mutual benefits are gained that endure throughout their lives. They mature mentally and physically to higher levels as a result of a positive, altered mental attitude and enabled physical activity. These benefits permeate throughout the families resulting in mutual reinforcement within the families and serving to inspire those outside the family. The overall result is that special needs children and their families typically live longer than predicted, lead more productive lives and are less encumbered by typical social constraints.

In order to complete this extraordinary complex, the SNAP 501(c)(3) organization needs your help!Individuals, businesses and organizations are encouraged to consider donating to this most worthy project in the spirit of helping fulfill the SNAP motto, “Because EVERY Child Deserves a Playground.”All donations are tax deductible.

To find out how you may help, please contact fundraising chairpersons, Jack Templeton, 256-773-6591, or Angie Brandon, 256-335-5283, or visit www.snapplayground.org for more information. Donations may be mailed directly to:JMS SNAP of Morgan County, P. O. Box 512, Hartselle, Alabama35640.

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For more information or to coordinate an interview or presentation, please contact Project Manager Bob Francis at 256.227.3483 or email at auusmeagle@aol.com.Any media exposure pertaining to this information will be sincerely appreciated.

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