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New Llewellyn Principal places a needed playground fence

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Help arrives from experts: Lowes Delta Park Store Manager Bryan Sadler and HR Manager Ryan Kaas flank new Llewellyn Principal Joe Galati, as they unload bags of mulch. Llewellyn Elementary School’s new principal, as of July 1, started meeting parents and students before school started – through an unusual activity on August 11: Installing playground fencing.

“When I came to visit, earlier this year,” Principal Joe Galati related, “Steve Powell took me on a tour of the campus. I saw a play structure close to a neighborhood street – but there was no fence enclosing the playground there.”

Principal Powell told him that he’d requested fencing, but the school district put the job on the back burner.

“It’s true; there’s not a lot of traffic here, behind the school,” Galati observed. “But there are cars coming through. I’m always worried about the safety and well-being of our kids.”

To fix the problem, Galati enlisted the aid of people he knew at a home improvement store near his previous school.

“I got to know Joe when he worked with Chief Joseph School in North Portland,” explained Lowe's Delta Park Human Resource Manager Ryan Kaas.

“He was concerned about the safety of the children in this area because the playground here isn’t fenced,” Kaas said. “Even though Joe was transferred here, quite a ways from our store, we decided this would be a good project to help with – to put in a fence, so the kids would stay safe.”

Lowe’s Delta Park Store Manager Bryan Sadler explained that such volunteer efforts are part of the company’s “Heroes” program. “This is part of our corporate culture; it’s something we do quite a bit. Everyone here wearing a red shirt has come out to help with this project today. We have a lot of fun helping the community.”

Also on hand for the fence-building were Llewellyn parents – among them Ron Winter, father of an incoming kindergartner, who was shoveling concrete into post holes. “Being both a neighbor and a parent, we came out to help the school and be part of this community effort,” he remarked.

Along the street, neighbor Joy Dezellem was putting down ground cloth with her daughter, who will be a kindergartner at the school this month. “The security of having a fence along here is very important to me,” she commented. “Safety is number one.”

Before heading back to his office at Llewellyn Elementary School, new principal Galati smiled, “I appreciate the incredible partnership with Lowe’s; and it’s great meeting the parents who came out to volunteer today.”