Tupelo dedicates new wheelchair swings at Veterans Park

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) – A 12-year-old boy’s idea to share the simple joy of swinging with others became a reality in Tupelo.

Not long after the ribbon was cut, dedicating the wheelchair swings at Veterans Park, Caleb Rodger’s mother and father were wheeling him onto the swing.

Caleb Rodgers has cerebral palsy and has a swing made by his father, Rodney Rodgers, at his house. But last year, he asked his mother, Jenny Rodgers, if he had enough in his savings, to buy a wheelchair swing for the nearby park.

Soon, a fundraising campaign was underway.

“We were going to just do one and then it wasn’t that much more to do two. And it was providing more access for the community out here to have a buddy to swing with them. So, it’s exciting,” said Rodney Rodgers.

Caleb Rodgers, who communicates by spelling out words and sentences on a card with letters and numbers, was also excited to see the wheelchair swings at the park.

“My Jesus understands His children enjoy swinging. That’s what he thinks about the swings,” said Jenny Rodgers.

Along with community support, the city of Tupelo played a big role in helping get the wheelchair swings. The city’s recreation director, Leigh Ann Mattox, said every child should be able to enjoy the simple pleasures of a swing set.

“We take for granted, a lot of times, how we can just get in a swing and feel what that motion feels like. And for the first time, people who use wheelchairs can get that sensation of what it’s like to swing,” said Mattox.

The wheelchair swings were also for the young at heart. 82-year-old Cecilia Rodgers is Caleb Rodgers’ grandmother.

“It was fun. I enjoyed it,” said Cecilia Rodgers.

During the dedication ceremony, plans were also announced for the city to upgrade the nearby children’s play area at Veterans Park.

Caleb Rodgers is known for helping others. His ministry, “Just Jesus”, gives out Bibles and devotionals to people worldwide.

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