Ready to ride

By BRYN STOLE Staff Writer

A safety fair at the Greenwood Leflore Hospital sent kids home with quite a few tips on how to live and play a bit healthier.

Kids also left the fair with free helmets and six area children went home with brand-new bicycles.

The event, which was co-sponsored by the hospital and the Junior Auxiliary of Greenwood, was held Saturday morning outside Greenwood Leflore Hospital’s Outpatient Rehab and Wellness Center.

Smocked Junior Auxiliary members were passing out free bike helmets, purchased by the group at a discount from the Mississippi Brain Injury Association, to children at the fair.

Katie Dale, co-chair of the Junior Auxiliary of Greenwood’s pediatric connection committee, said the group raised enough funds to buy 200 helmets, more than enough for everyone who came out to the fair.

Kids were also navigating a bike course set up by Junior Auxiliary which stressed proper safety and road awareness in the youngsters.

“For them to get to ride the bike today, they had to go through the safety checklist,” Dale said. “We donated six bikes, all different sizes for different age groups. At the end we had a drawing.”

One of the lucky winners of a bike, 12-year-old Raghav Nallani, said he was pretty thrilled to have some new wheels to cruise around on this summer.

“I’m pretty happy,” Raghav said. “I like bike riding a lot.”

Raghav, a rising seventh-grader at Greenwood Middle School, said he also picked up a helmet which he was planning on wearing.

All sorts of other groups turned out for the fair as well, from the anti-smoking organization Reject All Tobacco to ArtPlace Mississippi, which taught a gardening activity. Park rangers from Grenada Lake were on hand to teach about water safety, and Lt. Wendy Deuel of the Salvation Army, dressed as Snow White, was handing out cotton candy and popcorn and promoting the nonprofit’s summer programs for children.

Christine Hemphill, Greenwood Leflore Hospital foundation director, said the safety fair should become a staple event for the hospital.

“This is the first annual, so we’re going to do it again next year,” Hemphill said. “The reason we did this was to promote safety for the young people in our community and to have a fun time doing it.”

• Contact Bryn Stole at 581-7235 or bstole@gwcommonwealth.com.