Volunteers Dedicate New Childhood Development Center In Hancock County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Volunteers Dedicate New Childhood Development Center In Hancock County

People from Bucks and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania have been in Hancock County for over a year rebuilding homes and helping the community recover. On Tuesday, the Bucks-Mont Katrina Project dedicated a $1.3 million Early Childhood Development Center on Highway 603.

A ribbon was tied to mark the grand opening.

"Which will symbolically tie Bucks and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania to the wonderful people of Hancock County, Mississippi," said Grover Friend with the Bucks-Mont Katrina Project.

The child development center is the first new public building to go up in Hancock County since Hurricane Katrina. And it was all made possible by donations and work from Pennsylvania residents.

"We had donations from $2 to $100,000," Bucks-Mont Project Manager Collette McBrartney said. "I had one little girl, her name is Kayla, I'll never forget her. She said, 'I collected this money from a lemonade stand and sent it,' and said, 'I want it for the kids in Hancock County.'"

Contractors, plumbers and even high school vo-tech students got involved. The students built the colorful letters that adorn the building's exterior.

"We thought, 'How are we going to get those wooden pieces and metal letters?' And Bucks County Intermediate School District took the bull by the horns and said, 'We'll do it!' And their whole senior class made that a project," McBrartney said.

Others used their talents for decorating the inside of the building.

Amazed by the generous gift, local leaders could only offer their heartfelt thanks.

"Not only have they built this fine building, but they've been busy doing all types of projects throughout Hancock County. And I would say they've probably touched the lives of the majority of the citizens here, in one way or another," Director of Early Childhood Development Lora Mederos said.

Hancock County's District 3 Supervisor Lisa Cowand said, "These people wrapped their arms around us and have not let go. It's just been amazing."

Also on Tuesday, the Buck-Mont group held a ceremony to dedicate repair work for a park on Beach Boulevard in Bay St. Louis, and broke ground on a new animal shelter in Hancock County.

By Al Showers

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