Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

September 24, 2012

Generosity, PTO helps Whitethorn get new equipment for playground

BLUEFIELD — A round hole in front of Whitethorn Elementary School doesn’t mark the spot where a UFO landed, but it is the site of a new playground being funded by the local PTO and local generosity.

Whitethorn Elementary was constructed during the 1930s, and the current playground equipment is worn and antiquated, said Principal Greg Furrow. The school’s PTO decided to raise money for a new playground.

“While we think academics are important, we felt it was also important to give the kids a place to play,” he said. “They (PTO) started last fall raising the money. We worked very hard on fundraisers and accumulated about $2,000.”

However, the chosen playground equipment had a $16,000 price tag. A local business owner learned about the playground and decided to help.

“A very wonderful man and his two sons, who own a business in Bluefield, heard about our project and wrote us a check for the balance,” Furrow said.

Jim Hamm of Belt Tech, Inc. and Turn 4 Truck & Auto and his sons Justin and Steve decided to help fund the playground project. Most of the playground equipment is being stored in a company warehouse until the site is ready for it.

Hamm said they donated more than $13,000 to the playground.

“They had no place for them to play,” Hamm said of the students. “I think this will be a big improvement for them.”

Plans include putting a fence around the playground area. Organizers hope to see the preparations finished by next week so the equipment can be installed.

“We have wonderful kids, and we’re so happy to be able to do it,” Furrow said of the project. “The Mercer County Board of Education and the city of Bluefield were really wonderful to work with.”

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