Community rallies to keep kids cool at the Ottawa County Boys and Girls Club summer program.

MIAMI - Literally overnight, the Ottawa County Boys and Girls Club found itself on the receiving end of a generous donation to help keep things cool at their new location.

Following a board meeting Thursday, July 20, two industrial fans and a water cooler were delivered from Miami's ACE Hardware Friday morning at no cost to the Club.

It began when Ottawa County Boys and Girls Club Director Mackenzie Garst brought up the need for an inexpensive cooling solution for the Club's gymnasium inside the new location at the former National Guard Armory in Riverview Park.

While most of the Club's new location is well cooled by central air conditioning, the attached gymnasium is not. There were also no funds in place to implement a solution.

There are currently over 180 children enrolled in the Ottawa County Boys and Girl's Club summer program according to Garst with daily attendance averaging at about 130.

The gymnasium has a big part in helping staff to rotate groups for play and activities throughout the day, but as temperatures continued to rise the Club needed to figure out how to keep the area cool enough for safe use.

With the problem on the table, new board member Brandy Smith, attending her first meeting, immediately jumped into action. Smith is also the Vice-President, Chamber Operations for the Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Using her connections in the community, Smith reached out and soon had most of the funding to purchase the needed equipment, and with the generosity of Miami's ACE Hardware absorbing the remaining costs, delivery was set for the next day.

"After the meeting, I talked to some of the Chamber Staff and Tom Payton at First National Bank, and from there it just flowed like a waterfall," said Smith. "When there is a need for kids, people want to give."

"I just want to say how grateful we are to everyone who helped make this happen," said Garst. "I'm constantly amazed at how quickly this community comes together when there is a need. It's wonderful."

Contributing to the donation were Miami Regional Chamber of Commerce; First National Bank; Tom & Shirley Payton; Shannon & Mike Epperson; Steve Cline; George & Bonnie Swiatkowski; Rosie & Jack Dalrymple; Ace Hardware and Tractor Supply.