Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary’s pre-K students were busy Tuesday planting flowers and vegetable seeds in planters beside the gym.
Tomorrow the gym will be named in memory of Spc. Jeremy L. Brown, who was killed in Afghanistan last May when insurgents attacked his group. He was a member of the United States Army and a Warren County resident.
“We’ve been thinking about planting a garden for a while,” said teacher Nina Smith. “Mr. Henry, our maintenance man, said he would build us some planters if we wanted to do it. We thought it was a wonderful way we could honor Jeremy.”
Teacher’s assistant Jane Jones says the vegetable garden will be similar to the community gardens, sometimes called victory gardens, planted during World War II. However, the name of this garden will be “Twinkles Garden” for the children who established it.
“Bobby Ray is school home of stars,” she said. “We’re small, so we twinkle. That’s why we named it the Twinkles Garden. The kids are really loving it. Some of them have never planted a garden before.”
Both gardens are located in the side entranceway of the gym and flank the concrete steps. A variety of flowers were placed on one side and class members chose what seeds to use in the vegetable garden — squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, spinach, okra, sunflower, sage, rosemary and basil.
Among those helping out was the niece of Spc. Brown, 4-year-old Katelyn Brown.
“I like everything in it,” Katelyn said of the planters. “I like the vegetables and the flowers.”
Katelyn says this is not her first time planting flowers. She helps plant them in her yard at home. Her favorite flowers are the yellow ones.
Also involved in beautifying the area around the entrance of the gym is United Steelworkers Local 1155.
The group has been working for a week, beginning by cleaning out the area and pressure washing the walls and steps. The group is also applying stucco to the crumbling walls to impprove the appearance. In the center of the area, landscape timbers have been bolted into the concrete and pea-gravel will be poured in to provide a seating area.
The USW members removed the fence around the area, built footers and poured new concrete around the steps to build it up where it would be even to step onto and off the steps.
“We donated all of our time and materials,” said Tammy Jennings. “Jeremy’s mother is a union member so when the PTO asked for our help, we volunteered to do it. We ended up going a little bit above and beyond,” Jennings added. “We just felt like with her being a union member and his giving his life for his country, that’s what we needed to do.”
Those involved in the project so far include Billy Dycus, USW 1155 president, Tom Westlake, Tammy Jennings, Randy Jennings, Billy Wright, Gary Driver and Randy Slonaker.
A dedication ceremony will be held tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the gymnasium. Among those in attendance will be members of Brown’s family, 75 members of Brown’s platoon and the Warren County High School band. The event is open to the public.