May 29, 2010 7:11:00 PM
An Oktibbeha County teenager recently completed a project that will help wheelchair-bound children experience the joy of horseback riding.
Incoming Starkville Academy sophomore Davis Pigg, 15, finished building a wheelchair ramp this week which will be used during a horseback riding activity for campers at Camp Jabber Jaw in June. Hosted by the T.K. Martin Center for Technology and Disability at Mississippi State University, Camp Jabber Jaw was designed for children who use augmentative communication devices, which replace speech and writing when those abilities are impaired. Several of the children who will attend Camp Jabber Jaw are in wheelchairs, T.K. Martin Center Director Janie Cirlot-New said.
A Caledonia-based group called R.I.D.E.S. (Riding to Improve Development, Esteem, Strength and Spirit) will come to the Mississippi Horse Park during the week of June 7-11 and use Pigg''s ramp when they take Camp Jabber Jaw campers horseback riding, Cirlot-New said.
"We are very excited about it," she said.
The ramp sits 18 feet long, 4 feet wide and 2 feet high at its tallest point -- a platform from which users will be assisted on top of their horses. The surface of the ramp and platform are covered in a green, non-stick paint.
Including planning and construction, the ramp took about 100 hours to complete, Pigg said. About half of the materials were donated, but the rest were paid for by donations and contributions from people throughout Starkville, he said.
The T.K. Martin Center in the past would borrow a ramp for the horseback riding activity, but it wasn''t always available, Cirlot-New said. Then she mentioned the need to former T.K. Martin Center employee and Boy Scout Troop 45 Assistant Scout Leader Gary McFadyen, who told Pigg about the situation.
Pigg decided to build a wheelchair ramp for Camp Jabber Jaw as part of his quest to become an Eagle Scout, though he still needs five more merit badges to achieve that honor. And even though the project began as a means to become an Eagle Scout, it also gave Pigg a bit of personal satisfaction.
"I don''t want to be cheesy and say it makes me feel good, but it kind of does," Pigg said. "It feels great helping these kids out any way I can."
Pigg''s parents, Jason and Robin, helped their son with the project and said they couldn''t be more proud.
"Davis wanted his Eagle Scout project to be something that would impact a lot of people and make a difference in their lives," Robin Pigg said. "Camp Jabber Jaw is a wonderful and important camp and I am glad he chose this project. Jason and I are so proud of him."
After Camp Jabber Jaw is finished with the ramp, it will be stored at the Mississippi Horse Park for future camps and events, Cirlot-New said.
piggspointe commented at 8/24/2011 10:35:00 AM:
We are so proud of you Davis.
Mom and Dad
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