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Isaiah Alonso has been gone from the hallways of Radcliff Elementary School for two years, but his influence on the school remains strong.
The new Isaiah’s Adventureland of Fun playground was unveiled Monday at Radcliff Elementary. The playground is the product of fundraising done by Isaiah’s parents. Monday was the second anniversary of Isaiah’s death at age 6.
At the ribbon cutting, Principal Joan Cooke said she and PTA president David Winchester thought the playground would have to be installed one piece at a time because of the cost. But after hearing of the project, Cheryl Alonso, Isaiah’s mother, told Cooke she would like to use money the family had set aside for a pool for the playground.
“And that’s how this playground came to be,” Cooke said.
Cooke said the Alonsos “have become an integral part of the Radcliff school community,” and Vinnie Alonso, Isaiah’s father, returned the familial sentiment, calling Cooke his “sister.”
“We love you, Joan,” he said. “We really do.”
The playground became a true community project as many people came out Saturday to install the pieces, including the school’s military unit sponsor, the 1st Battalion, 26th Infantry, Bravo Company of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division.
The Alonsos also worked to raise money within the community. They still are raising money through the purchase of bricks for a walkway to the playground.
Vinnie Alonso said the project brought the community together, from donors, military members and Radcliff Fire Department, which hosed down the muddy parking lot after Saturday’s build. He was thankful for that.
“Sometimes that’s hard to make that happen,” he said.
Winchestersaid students going to school Monday morning all agreed that the new equipment was “pretty awesome.”
“And I think have to agree with them,” he said.
A sign with the name of playground and Isaiah’s photo also was revealed. Vinnie Alonso said it was “overwhelming” to have reached the goal of building the playground.
“It’s an emotional rollercoaster,” he said.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at (270) 505-1747 or email@example.com.