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TOPIC: Third-grader Rachel Ritchie's idea
OUR VIEW: We need more kids and adults like her
Rachel Ritchie may not be a household name around Hardin County. But maybe it should be.
She’s a third-grade student at Vine Grove Elementary School with a dream and a kind heart.
Rachel went before Vine Grove City Council last month wanting to make a change in her community. She knew she couldn’t do it alone and needed some help. As much as anything, she wanted to make adults aware of a concern of hers.
With a friend who is disabled, Ritchie wanted her friend to be able to enjoy what other children are able to on a playground. Rachel wants to make Optimist Park on Knox Avenue opportune for all. She wants her friend to enjoy playground life just like she can, despite the disability.
That’s where it all started. Where it ends up will cost money to become reality.
Rachel and her parents are spearheading a drive to raise $20,000 to purchase the necessary playground equipment. Her father suggested at a council meeting that a committee be formed to purchase the equipment to ensure it is not redundant to what already is at the park.
Rachel even has a name planned: the Fun for Everyone Park.
Vine Grove’s new police chief, Kenny Mattingly, stepped forward to join the committee and others will follow.
To help generate money for the cause, a March 30 roadblock will be set up by Vine Grove Fire Department to accept donations. Some city businesses have started to support the project, such as Snappy Tomato in Vine Grove. The business has pledged to donate $1.25 of every pizza ordered through the end of April when the customer mentions Rachel or her effort.
During Mayberry Days next month, crafts made by Rachel and some of her friends will be sold.
Donations also can be made at www.vinegrove.org.
Julie Ritchie, Rachel’s mom, says of her daughter’s efforts, “I’m just proud that I am her mom. It’s very humbling.”
There is a lesson to be learned from Rachel. She saw a need and stepped forward, doing something you would expect from someone much older.
We need more people like Rachel. Age doesn’t matter.
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise's editorial board.