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State Honoree

Paul Varnado

Mississippi

planned and built a playground for a daycare program serving needy children. After learning that a daycare center for disadvantaged children had to relocate to a site with no outdoor play area, Paul decided to design and build a new playground. He spent weeks researching state and federal safety regulations, applying for grants, pricing materials and soliciting donations of materials and funds. Next, Paul organized a volunteer work crew made of Boy Scouts and church and family members. This team cleared the site, framed timbers, and shoveled hundreds of pounds of pea gravel for a ‘fall zone.’ Paul then picked up and assembled slides, climbing toys and a playhouse. Additional donations of new high chairs, baby beds and toys helped refurbish classrooms at the new site. Due to Paul’s careful planning and hours of work, the daycare center’s children were able to use the completed playground on their very first day at the new site. “These children may not live in nice homes or have yards, but during the time they are in daycare I know that they are enjoying brand new, high quality facilities,” said Paul. “I feel in my heart that I’ve been privileged to be a part of many miracles.”