By: Caroline Carmichael – Shelby County Reporter
The Montevallo Rotary Club recently handed over the keys of a much-anticipated golf cart to the Falcon Flight special needs program of the University of Montevallo and Shelby County Schools.
Falcon Flight allows Shelby County students to attend UM classes in order to build essential life and job skills for their journeys into adulthood, according to UM.
The golf cart will aid campus and job accessibility for Falcon Flight members whose physical needs sometimes inhibit easy mobility.
“We’re excited, and it’s filled a big need,” Falcon Flight job coach Tina Smith said after the presentation. “We were trying to borrow one from the golf course, and it was hard because they needed it.”
Smith had presented the need for the golf cart to Montevallo Rotary Club earlier in the year.
Community member Jim Hicks coordinated the cart donation, and the Montevallo Rotary Club purchased a new battery to power the vehicle and corresponded with various entities to complete the project.
The cart came right on time for the program’s increase this year from its original five members to 13.
One member cheered from his wheelchair when he caught sight of the new golf cart stationed for its presentation on the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce lawn, according to Smith.
“That was my answer to everything: his enthusiasm to know, ‘Wow, we’ve got that!’” Smith said.
“It’s so good all the way around,” Rotary president-elect Dr. James H. McDonald, who is also provost and vice president at the University of Montevallo, said. “I think it’s good for the Falcon Flight students. I think it’s good for our students to interact with them and get to know them and be role models for them — and in some ways vice-versa, because of these kids … they’re so giving, and they’re so warm, and they’re so wonderful. We can all learn from one another.”
McDonald said the donation is an example of “the spirit of the Rotary Club.”
“You put others before self, and you put the community and beyond — it’s a good thing. I mean, that’s what we’re all about,” he said.
Rotary members said the project completion was merely one of its many goals.
“We’ve achieved one goal, and that was to provide the cart and get it to the program,” Rotary member Steve Gilbert, who is also executive director of the Montevallo Chamber of Commerce, said.
Falcon Flight extends thanks to Hicks, Montevallo Rotary Club, Howell’s Service in Clanton, as well as Thrash Paint and Body Shop and the Type Shop in Montevallo for each of their contributions.