(Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)
Residents at the Manila Nursing Center will soon be enjoying a screened-in, 16x32 foot pavilion located in the perfect spot for them to enjoy watching ballgames at the city park.
The project is being done by donations from community businesses and individuals. The project was the idea of Pam Vassar Hester of Manila. Her mother is a resident at Manila Nursing Center.
"The Alzheimer's unit has a nice place outside for the residents to gather and I thought a place for the other residents would be good for them," Hester said. "I know my mom loves to watch kids play ball and enjoys being outside when the weather is nice. I started talking to people about the project and started gathering donations. The carpenters are donating their time and skills and we appreciate all of the help we can get."
Hester said Don Orr with Barton's of Manila donated the lumber and so far donations were given by Manila Business Women, Carroll Towell of Towell and Sons Auto, Heritage Bank, Pat Steele, Judy Faulkner and family, the Manila Lions Club, SouthBank, and Fay Davis.
"I turned the donations over to Connie Vassar who is taking care of the finances needed for the project," Hester said.
Carpenters working for Stracener volunteered their skills to build the pavilion.
"They worked on the building all day Saturday and Sunday to get the project underway," Hester said. "Brian's (one of the builders) mother and grandmother are nurses here and his sister, Shonda Sickles, works in the cafeteria. Shonda was instrumental in getting the workers."
Carpenters include Anthony Kirk, Eddie Joe Wells, Charles Wells, Jerry McCain, George Kriner, Randy Scroggins and Brian Sickles.
"We appreciate our senior citizens and this is a job from our hearts," Eddie Joe Wells said. "We want to build something they can enjoy. We have a lot of friends who live in the nursing home. We want to build something they can be proud of."
Hester said Kenny Graham of KG Roofing in Osceola donated shingles and the labor for the roof. Roofers were Michael Williams, Jason Huffins, Jess Yancey, and Carey Graham. Franklin Kirby volunteered to do the wiring for the electrical outlets and ceiling fans. Wendell Poteet helped with the frame work for the concrete and Jason Yarbro helped with the concrete.
Hester said there is still some needs to complete the project and she is still working on it. The pavilion will be handicapped accessible for the wheelchairs, and has a concrete walkway from the nursing home to the pavilion. It will have siding at the bottom and screen on the top.
"We will need patio furniture," Hester said. "If anyone would like to donate money for furniture or if anyone has used patio furniture in good shape they want to donate, it will be appreciated. This will be a place for the residents giving them the opportunity to get outside. They have been watching the workers and getting excited about the project. One gentleman said he can't wait to sit outside and listen to the birds sing. My mother (Veda Vassar Holsclaw) said she can't wait to watch the kids playing ball at the park. It is going to be a nice place for them to gather, talk, play games, have cook-outs and be outside. Since it will be screened-in with ceiling fans they should be able to enjoy it without being bothered with the mosquitoes."
Hester and Melinda Crawford, activity director, both expressed their appreciation to everyone who has helped with the project.
"It will be enjoyed by a lot of people for years to come," Crawford said.
Anyone interested in helping with the project can contact Hester or Crawford. An account has been opened at Southbank in Manila to help with the pavillion project if anyone would like to donate.