Playground dedicated at Helicon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 17, 2006

A large new playground was dedicated April 29 at the Helicon Community Center.

It was named the Watkins-Richburg Playground in honor of the late Rev. A. W. Watkins and Harvey Richburg, both contributors and advocates for the education of children.

Mrs. Watkins received an honorary plaque, as well as Harvey Richburg.

The Helicon Playground was a cooperative project for outdoor recreation assisted by the Land and Water Conservation Fund through the Alabama Department of Economic Community Affairs and the U. S. Department of the Interior and the National Park Service.

The master of ceremonies for the dedication ceremony was the Rev. Fred Lowery. Petrey Mayor Curtis Petrey gave the invocation.

Senator Wendell Mitchell, Probate Judge Jim Perdue, and Commissioner Charlie Sankey, Jr., made opening remarks, commending the Helicon community for their efforts.

The Helicon Community Association coordinated the playground project and raised matching funds.

Sen. Mitchell said he had the greatest admiration for the Helicon people because they stick together. Perdue made similar supportive comments.

Mitchell recalled that he had been in the group who turned the first spades of dirt for the construction of the Community Center, which was completed in 2002.

Commissioner Sankey acknowledged the help of God and said, &#8220There is no such thing as separation of church and state.”

He also spoke to the political candidates present, declaring that winners and losers in the upcoming elections should continue to support each other.

He said, &#8220Together we stand; divided we fall.”

Polly Foster assisted Rev. Lowery in presenting plaques to special contributors: South Alabama Electric Cooperative, Mon-Cre Telephone Cooperative, and the Watkins family.

Mrs. A. W. Watkins spoke words of appreciation for the honors, as did Harvey Richburg.

In acknowledging God's hand in the improvements in Helicon, Richburg echoed Sankey's comment: &#8220There is no such thing as separation of church and state.”

Richburg said, &#8220Helicon is the best community in America.”

He also said that the good reputation of the county was made evident to him when he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin.

The head librarian found out that Richburg was from Crenshaw County in Alabama and asked him if he knew Jean Petrey.

She said that Jean Petrey was one of the best English teachers in the country.

The librarian further added that Alton Turner was one of the best lawyers in his field in America.

Rev. Raymond Franklin, President of the Helicon Community Association, gave final remarks and the benediction.

Franklin began by saying, &#8220Give God the praise!”

The audience gave a resounding &#8220Amen!”

He said that the Neighborhood Watch was the beginning of the Helicon Community Association in 2001.

The building was completed in 2002.

Then the playground had been in the making since 2004.

Refreshments were served, and while it was still daylight, everyone went outside to view the nice playground.

The children did not waste any time making use of the slides, swings, and climbing areas. Everyone enjoyed a feeling of accomplishment. It was truly a good evening.