Categorized | Education & Safety, News

Local donations and large gift from Mid-South Therapy Dogs helps Millington Elementary to break ground on a new playground

By Thomas Sellers Jr.

MES Pennies for Playground MES Playground 2

Mid-South Therapy Dogs' Debb Taylor and dog Kimber join Millington Elementary School teachers Sheila Pugh and Ashley Taylor along with Principal Kathy Wilson for the $8,000 presentation toward the new playground.

Mid-South Therapy Dogs’ Debb Taylor and dog Kimber join Millington Elementary School teachers Sheila Pugh and Ashley Taylor along with Principal Kathy Wilson for the $8,000 presentation toward the new playground.

MES Playground group shotMillington Elementary School Eagles will flock to their new nest of a playground this upcoming school year.
When the children are playing on the soft platform of wood chips exercising their bodies on new structures, the students will have many adults to thank for making it possible.
But the journey toward obtaining the new playground started with the effort of the Eagles themselves.
The fundraising effort of Pennies for the Playground started March 2 and concluded May 13 raising $2,928.16. The students raising 292,816 pennies garner the attention of the Mid-South Therapy Dogs. The organization visits the school once a month with dogs like Kimber to participate with the MES Reading Club.
“They go into the library and lay down,” MES’ Sheila Pugh said. “Kids get to read to them and hang out with them. Normally they’re reading to an adult. So who wouldn’t want to read to a dog?”
Mid-South Therapy handler Debb Taylor developed a bond with MES from her daughter-in-law Ashley teaching in the first grade to the Reading Club.
“(Debb) saw the Pennies for the Playground collection on my Facebook page,” Sheila recalled. “She inquired about it through Facebook. I gave her the information she needed to know. We just spoke back and forth. I sent her the information she needed. She spoke with Mary Edwards who is in charge of the program. All of sudden, on May 20 she called me and said when is the last day of school. I have a present for you.”
The present Taylor had on behalf of the Mid-South Therapy Dogs caught Pugh, her daughter-in-law and Principal Kathy Wilson by surprise.
“Ms. Wilson, her jaw dropped,” Pugh said. “She was dumbfounded for lack of a better word. She didn’t even say. She just handed the check to Mrs. Taylor. She took it and just stood there. She was like, ‘Oh my goodness, $8,000’ Everybody just went nuts. It just caught everybody by surprise.”
All the MES teachers, faculty and staff celebrated the gift presented by Taylor and Kimber toward the playground.
“Nobody had any idea how massive that donation was going to be,” Pugh said. “Anything would have been appreciated. We would have been happy to get anything. But none of us had any idea what it would be.”
The donation by Mid-South Therapy was just one of the gifts from the community that helped MES obtain the funds for a new playground. The purchase order was submitted June 8 and the building project is scheduled to start in July. The playground will hopefully be ready for use by September 1 located at the end the Yellow Hall (first and second grade).
“I would love to make some kind of signs near the playground saying, ‘It surely takes a village,’” Pugh concluded. “With the Mid-South Therapy Dogs logo, Patriot Bank logo, MMS logo, the PTA logo, just all those people who helped out. Even with Larry Dagen donating a trophy. Those kids were so proud to carry that trophy around. They took to the gym and even to lunch.”

thomas.sellers@journalinc.com
Go to: Millington-News.com

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