LITTLE MOUNTAIN, S.C. — A Chapin-based group is breaking ground on a facility unlike any other in the Midlands for people with special needs.
Screaming Eagle Athletic Facility will soon be in Little Mountain thanks to the dedication of the Bowers family and their love for the special needs community.
“Big things lie ahead for us, the best is yet to come," that's what Patrick and Jenny Bowers have said while working non-stop for the past four years developing Screaming Eagles Special Needs Athletics.
“We knew the need was here," Jenny said. "There’s lots of families that don’t really have anything to do, they’re not involved in sports, after-school care, summer camps, you name it. And this was just a dream of Patrick’s to do this.”
"This" is a brand-new athletic facility and special needs retreat on 34-acres in Little Mountain.
“We’ve got six acres that we’re dedicating to the actual athletic component to it," Patrick said. "We’re going to have baseball fields, soccer fields, we’re going to have an indoor practice facility.”
What started out as a dream is quickly blossoming into a reality, with a lot of help from the community. Chapin High School alone raised over $100,000 for the group and Archer United is donating hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of time and equipment to make it come to life.
“We have the means and the equipment," said Archer United project manager Michael Christie. "We have a lot of skilled operators willing to donate their time to come out here on the weekend and help so we’re moving all the dirt on the project, we helped clear the site and we’re going to get it finished graded so Screaming Eagles can come out here and build their fields.”
Their guys are donating time on the weekends to help the Bowers in their endeavor.
Jody and Stephanie Haltiwanger have helped the Bowers by recruiting over 100 kids to join the group and helping raise a significant amount of money at Chapin High School for the project.
"When I came on board, I coach at the high school and I see what it is as a parent to sit in the stands and watch kids play and that’s kind of what got me hooked," Jody said. "I just want the parents to sit in the stands and watch their kids play and they can get a few minutes of free time… and I just really enjoy that part of it.”
“I think that’s the beauty in what we do, you know, getting the community involved," Patrick said. "It’s been a blessing.”
The new Screaming Eagle Facility is expected to be ready by the spring sports season. The Bowers said their long-range plan is to have an outdoor shelter, dugouts, an announcer box, and a large indoor facility.
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