My daughter, Alison, loves to swing. There were no swings nearby to accommodate her wheelchair, something she uses due to having difficulty walking due to having cerebral palsy.
Alison would attend Lion’s Camp in Leesville. After seeing wheelchair swings at the camp, it started me on a mission of getting these swings and other accessible playground equipment for the two main parks in Opelousas.
The first person I spoke to about it was then park superintendent Ken Vidrine. The next step was to ask the mayor and city councilman that if I raised the money for the equipment, could the equipment be placed in North City Park and South City Park. They gave an unanimous approval along with advising they would match the money raised for the project.
Donations came in from the private sector and from civic organizations. By the end of 1998 we had enough money to have one wheelchair swing at each park, along with other handicapped playground equipment.
In January 1999, the equipment had come in and was installed at both parks. To make this extra special, we had a ceremony later that month to announce the new accessible playground areas.
Alison was ecstatic to be able to swing!