The efforts of Greater Grays Harbor, Inc.’s Leadership Grays Harbor Class of 2013 — a group of local business and civic leaders — over the past year, were on display Thursday afternoon during a dedication ceremony for the outdoor playground cover they had built for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Grays Harbor.
“They finished it all the way about a month ago and we have used it every day,” said Angela Coulter, the director of the Montesano center that serves children who have been sexually or severely physically abused, as well as children in regular daycare, prior to cutting the celebratory ribbon with members of the 2013 class. A necessity in a rainy climate like that of Grays Harbor, Coulter advocated last year for the group to build the shelter so that kids could play outside when it rains. “It makes it better for the kids, they have less energy when they get to go out and run. Their behavior is better.”
The group raised a total of around $22,000 for the shelter and a fence to be built around it — the prior fence was in the way of the shelter’s construction. The group, alongside Coulter who managed the funds in a bank account created just for the shelter’s construction, contracted Town and Country Post Frame Buildings, of Lynnwood and Puyallup, to construct the shelter — which cost about $15,000 to build, according to Coulter. Aside from numerous donations from around the Harbor — different pieces for the shelter were also donated by local groups, like two-by-fours from Mary’s River Lumber Co. The remaining dollars raised by the Leadership Class of 2013 were used for the fence and given to the center to use as it pleases. Members of the Leadership Grays Harbor Class of 2013 also volunteered time to paint a previously dreary hallway within the center — where children first enter the building — with brightly colored rainbows, mushrooms and bumblebees.
“It used to be an icky space,” said Coulter. “Now it’s a welcoming, warm place.”
Brenda Schumacher, with the leadership class, said “it feels awesome” to see the final product. She said it was Coulter’s enthusiasm that made the group select her from the final round of applicants who spoke to the group of their needs when the class was deciding on a project to pursue.
Mike Michener, also with the class, said everything went relatively smoothly due to collaboration between members of the leadership team.
“When you get 17 or 18 people in the same room it takes a certain amount of coordination,” he said.
The Leadership Class of 2013 includes: Alice King (Grays Harbor PUD), Bill Hardy (formerly o Harbor Pacific), Brandon Barnes (Anchor Bank), Brenda Schumacher (Barene DenAdel), Christy Vessey(Great Northwest Federal Credit Union), Corey Rux (Montesano Fire Chief), Dennis Benns (Westport Fire Chief), Georgia Bravos (Jodesha Broadcashing), Jacob Henry (Grays Harbor PUD), Janet Blackburn ( Port of Grays Harbor), Jonni Heath (formerly of Twin Star Credit Union), Karen Shafer (Grays Harbor Community Hospital), Kent Loweke (formerly of Grays Harbor Community Hospital), Kris Cearley (The Daily World ), Melanie Montgomery (Quinault Beach Resort and Casino), Michael Bruce (Mayor of Westport) and Mike Michener (Work Source Grays Harbor.)
Donors towards the Leadership Class of 2013’s playground shelter project with the Grays Harbor Children’s Advocacy Center include : Ocean Companies, Les Foote, Anchor Bank, Grays Harbor PUD, Sierra Pacific Industries, Stafford Creek Correction Center and its “Inside Out” group, Cause Medics, LLC., Imperium Renewables, the Westport Inn, Hoquiam Loggers Playday, Little Creek Casino Resort, Deep Sea Charters, Inc., Shoalwater Bay Casino, Hanner Enterprises, Inc. Pacific Seafood, Twin Star Credit Union, Lucky Eagle Casino, Worksource Grays Harbor, Cranberry Road Winery, Aberdeen Lion’s Club, Westport Seafoods, Cosmopolis Lions Club, F/V Slammer, Hoquiam Lion’s Club, Burkhamer Property Services,Westport Property Development, Harbor Physical Therapy Services, Quinault Beach Resort and Casino, Tokeland Hotel and Restaurant.