Scenes from Wings of Hope

Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Wings of Hope" was staged Saturday at Shawnee Field to help perpetuate the memory of two young boy who tragically died a year ago. The event -- that organizers hope to make an annual one -- featured a variety of children's games and activities, airplane rides, a photography show, clowns, live musical entertainment, a silent auction, plenty of good food as well as a symbolic bird release. The celebration was sponsored by the Greene County Alliance for Networking and Growth. Two boys, best friends provided the inspiration to first stage the benefit last year. The two boys -- 11-year-old Josh Merritt and 10-year-old Nicholas Decker -- suffered burns over more than 90 percent of their bodies on April 18, 2009 in an accident involving gasoline that was put on a smoldering fire pit in small community of Scotland. Nick passed away May 29 2009 and his best friend, Josh, died June 24, 2009. Nick was the son of Robert Decker and Sheilah Savell, and Josh was the son of Lisa Mae (Crays) Burris and Peter James Merritt. The boys are buried side by side at the Scotland Cemetery. "This event is to keep the memory of Josh and Nick alive. I think we should never forget the importance of how these two little boys touched so many lives. Getting a scholarship fund started in memory of these two boys I think should remind people how important life is and how we should never take our children for granted. Nick and Josh inspired me to try to establish a program with the help of The Greene County Alliance to help the children in our community who are less fortunate. All proceeds from this event will help with educational programs and extra curricular activities that some children may not otherwise be able to participate in," event coordinator Brenda Combs told the Greene County Daily World. "A percentage of the proceeds will go to help establish the scholarship funds. Its all about the kids and it's all about making a difference in their lives. If we can just help one Child it will be well worth it." Money raised will also be directed to a special fund that will assist other area youngsters with expenses to pay for athletic team uniforms and equipment, attend instructional athletic or educational camps or other needs approved by a coordinating committee, according to Combs. The scholarship money will be accrued from this year forward until the "would be" graduation year of both boys in 2018, when the first scholarships will be presented to a senior student from the Bloomfield and Loogootee school districts. Among the activities other activities were free airplane rides for the kids throughout the day. Taylor Township Fire Department, Wright Township Fire Department, Greene County Ambulance Service, Air-Evac and the Greene County Sheriff's Department had personnel on hand to answer questions about fire safety.