By CECIL PERGRAM
Aaron’s Gift of Smiles President Greg Rogers is pictured with Landon Shuler as he speaks to those in attendance. Landon donated $40 to Aaron’s Gift of Smiles to go towards funding the construction of an all inclusive playground at the Stanton City Park.
Aaron’s Gift of Smiles held a benefit auction at the Parks and Recreation Building to help raise money for a special needs playground to built at the Stanton City Park.
“I want to thank the Stanton Parks and Recreation for the use of their building and nice facilities for while there was a storm and it bent trees over almost to the ground and while that was happening people really weren’t looking outside, they just kept bidding, they didn’t care about that storm they cared about raising money for these children,” Aaron’s Gift of Smiles President Greg Rogers said. “The outcome is going to be super and it won’t be long and we’ll be seeing that light at the end of tunnel and we are going to get there working with our city officials, parks and recreation and our community. I want to thank everybody that came out and supported our cause because we had a full house and people were smiling and spending money for a good cause.”
“Saturday there were a lot of events going on throughout the community from pancake dinners to the Middle Fork Fire Department to the SPARK Rally. A lot of people sometimes want to put this community down but days like that show you what kind of community we really have,” Rogers said. All those events plus the auction and every event was successful, nothing can be successful without the participation of the citizens in this community.
“Everybody came together with one goal in mind and it really showed how Powell County can shine as a community,” Rogers said.
Rogers says that Aaron’s Gift of Smiles goal is to build a playground that is all inclusive to children with and without special needs as well as their parents.
“We hope to incorporate outdoor workout equipment so parents who have children that don’t get to go to the gym like they want to because they have children and cant find the time they’ll be able to take their children and let them play while they can get workout,” Rogers said. “So it will benefit everybody in the whole community.”
Rogers says he believes the playground will costs in neighborhood of $75,000-$100,000 and that the city of Stanton is submitting grant proposals to help fund the project. Aaron’s Gift of Smile’s recently held a benefit concert at Lion’s Club Park proceeds also went to benefit the special needs playground project.
“We raised well over $3,000 at the auction we’re at $5,000 altogether so by the time the city of Stanton matches us dollar-for-dollar we are now at $10,000 in just the past two weeks that’s pretty good,” Rogers said.
Local band Highway 15 which includes band members Hailey Wheeler, Maddie Murray and Crase kicked the off the evening with live music.
“I would like to thank Highway 15 for coming out they gave a wonderful performance donating their time and all those that helped out like Jerald Rogers and Kathleen Rogers, Vivian and Montford Powell and Beverly Hall,” Rogers said.
Rogers says the event took months to plan out to come up with all the auctioned items.
“We had some things mailed to us but there was a lot of road work traveling around getting all the stuff together but when it’s all over and you see the smile on a child’s face like little Landon Shuler it makes every second of it worth it,” Rogers said.
Local Clay City Elementary student Landon Shuler donated $40 of his own money to help build the special needs playground.
Rogers says that Aaron’s Gift of Smiles will continue to look to do more fundraising opportunities in the near future.
“They are a couple of things we are discussing about doing but I’ve kind of ran out of ideas, Aaron’s Gift of Smiles doesn’t have one boss is somebody has a good idea they kind of become the boss of that project,” Rogers said. “It’s great to have other people coming along with ideas and stepping up to the plate to help accomplish this goal.”
“The work is there but the workers are few and it takes a lot of ground work to accomplish these goals those workers we do have are awesome but we are so few it be wonderful to see people come along and be willing to help and if they have a great idea to share it,” Rogers said.
Rogers says in the future he believes Aaron’s Gift of Smiles will be collecting money at stoplight as well as the organization is the beginning stages of planning a bake sale.
Rogers says interested volunteers can contact Aaron’s Gifts of Smiles via it’s Facebook page or they can contact Greg Rogers, Duane Curtis or Vivian Powell if anybody specifically interested in volunteering to help out during an upcoming bake sale.
“We would like to get this bake sale up and going I know a lot of women in Powell County and we got some of the greatest cooks that’s ever walked on the face of this earth and I’ve drove a truck all across this nation for 20 years,” Rogers said.
Rogers says he still needs work out some kinks with organizing a bake sale in a successful location
“We just don’t want these women working hard on baking all of this stuff then it not selling,” Rogers said. “I would love to see it be successful, there’s 14,000 people in this community and if we could get 14,000 cupcakes sold we would be a long way to paying for this playground.”