Sometimes it’s the unexpected that leaves the lasting impression on an event—something that even the best PR pro or special events planner couldn’t coordinate, script or direct.
Such was the case during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Harris County’s Matzke Park. (See related blog post below). It was a day that was heaven-made — bright sun, temperatures in the 70s and the sweet smell of spring flowers in the air. A crowd of 125 people turned out to hear local officials and community leaders, including Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jerry Eversole, laud the newest addition to the park – a barrier-free playground built by Be An Angel. The all-inclusive playground for kids of all ages and abilities was created in partnership with the county and the Association for Better Community Schools, a community group that I have led for the past 15 years. This is the 22nd barrier-free playground built in Harris County by Be An Angel.
County officials and local residents signed in, got their nametags and made their way to chairs under a large tent. Special needs students, including many in wheelchairs, from adjacent Matzke Elementary School and from Aldine ISD, were waiting to give the playground its first try.
After numerous speeches in which everyone responsible for this beautiful park and its newest playground structure were recognized and thanked, Commissioner Eversole stood at the podium for closing remarks. He admitted right off that he wasn’t going to try to make an inspirational speech or thank those who had already been recognized by the preceding speakers. Jokingly, he asked, “Is there anyone here today who hasn’t been thanked?”
A little special needs boy on the front row raised his hand to the delight of the crowd, which applauded enthusiastically as the young boy stood. Then, he slowly made his way to the podium and stood by the Commissioner smiling. “Do you want to say something?” the Commissioner asked. As the young boy moved to the podium and looked out into the crowd, there was a pause that seemed to last an eternity as we collectively wondered what this young boy would say.
And then he spoke these words into the microphone: “I want to thank my mom for all the nice things she does for me and to say I love her.”