On Tuesday, July 23, three organizations came together to donate Radio Flyer wagons to Alabama Children's Hospital in Birmingham: The Blue Knights XVI, Marshall County FOP Lodge 18 and Marshall County Sheriff's Office.
Andray Hubble, chaplain of Marshall County FOP Lodge 18, said it was brought to their attention at their state conference in Montgomery in April that they would like each Lodge to donate a wagon to the Children's Hospital. These wagons will be used for the children to be transported from room to room or to and from labs. It is something a little different than using a wheelchair and makes it more fun for the children.
The Marshall County Lodge decided to do one and Rich Barley, the Lodge's secretary, reached out to the Marshall County Sheriff's Office and the Blue Knights Chapter XVI, a police officer motorcycle club. Each group decided to donate one as well.
Hubble said to make their wagons unique instead of just being the typical red, they spoke with Barry Holcomb, owner of Holcomb Collision, about painting the wagons. Holcomb said that he would paint the wagons in the memorial flag for fallen officers in the colors of black with a blue stripe. Holcomb also placed the name of the organizations at the end of the wagon.
This painted wagon will be something a little different for the children to chose. Holcomb donated the paint and pained the wagons for free.
Marshall Medical Center North donated the IV poles and mounted them to the wagons as well. Alabama Children's Hospital does not have many with IV poles. Hubble said that they only have six. With the donation made by the three Marshall County divisions, they will have three more.
If all of the Lodges statewide donated a wagon, Hubble believes that would be 72 wagons.
"Any time children are involved in diseases, accidents, when they are hurt, you want to help them and make it better for them any way you can," Hubble said. "That is part of the reason we did the wagon in a different color scheme, so they could pick something different."
Each wagon is equipped with ATV wheels which makes it more comfortable for the children. It was a request from the hospital.
"Anyway we can help with these type of things," he said, "that is what America is. It is giving back."
Having something a little different to chose from will hopefully help these children to be children. They are attracted to something a little different. Hubble said that he hopes the children enjoy having options and he believes that they will truly enjoy them.
Marshall County Sheriff Phil Sims thanked the members of the FOP, the Blue Knights and Holcomb Collision for all their help. He believes that the children will really enjoy having the option to use one of their wagons. He was grateful that his office was asked to be a part of it and for the vision to make it possible.
Children's of Alabama director of partnership Emily Hornak thanked the Fraternal Order of Police, the Blue Knights and the Marshall County Sheriff's Office for their partnership. She said that it is not just about the giving, but the care and concern for the kids. The most important part of these wagons is that it allows the children to be children.