Swings for kids with disabilities installed in Carterville, vand - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Swings for kids with disabilities installed in Carterville, vandalized hours later

In Carterville, Illinois, thanks to a lot of help from the community, kids with special needs can finally be kids. In Carterville, Illinois, thanks to a lot of help from the community, kids with special needs can finally be kids.
CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - Just hours after a ribbon cutting, a swing set in Carterville, Illinois for children with disabilities was vandalized.

According to the Facebook page for the group that organized the playground in Cannon Park, somebody dug out sealant from around the frame posts and spread it on the new surfacing.

They also tangled the swings together and filled them with straw.

The group said the Parks Department was cleaning up the mess.

Many times area playgrounds can be challenging for kids with disabilities.

In Carterville, Illinois, thanks to a lot of help from the community, kids with special needs can finally be kids.

Tommie Gray and Sarah Bowen could barely contain their excitement during the ribbon cutting ceremony at Cannon Park in Carterville.

"We pulled in today and her squeal of delight said it all," said Sarah's mom, Julie Bowen.

The park now has two platform swings for anyone in a wheelchair to use.

"It means the world to see Tommie and Sarah swing together," said Tommie's mom, Rachelle Gray.

Before, Tommie and Sarah would come to the park and watch as other kids played and climbed all over the jungle gym.

Now, they're free to have fun too.

"He can feel the wind in his face and he feels free. He doesn't have to have any help right now. All he needs is somebody to push him and he can go," Gray said.

"Something so basic as swinging just brings so much joy and the smile. She doesn't speak but she does with her eyes and her heart and she is just screaming thank you today to everybody," Bowen said.

The new equipments has no age or weight limit.

Plenty of others stood in line for their chance to swing and break in the new equipment.

The mothers raised enough money to install six more swings at the Crainville and Cambria park.

Which they say shows how much the swings were needed in their community.

"We will be out here probably everyday until it is too cold. And even when its too cold we can come out with blankets until we can't stand it anymore," Bowen said.

"We get to experience something that she hasn't ever done before, something new. It is awesome; it is a beautiful proud mom moment," Gray said.

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