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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (6/19/19) — Tuesday’s hot weather did not seem to keep pediatric patients from enjoying the new “Rog” Badgett All Inclusive Pediatric Play Park at Baptist Health Madisonville Wellness Park.

The community, health, local and state officials celebrated a ribbon-cutting for the $250,000 addition that will provide physical activities for special needs children. It is the only park of its kind in the region.

A protective rubber mat lines the ground beneath the sturdy play equipment that includes slides, seesaws, tunnels and and other interactive props designed for children that are physically challenged.

Baptist Health Madisonville president Rob Ramey said they were looking to expand services and provide an opportunity for interactive play for Baptist Health Madisonville’s young physical therapy patients.

He thanked the Badgetts, local companies, civic clubs and individuals who joined together to make the public park a gift that was possible.

Baptist Health Foundation Board Chairman Jarrett Brown said the money was raised over the past two years through 100 percent donations.

“Health insurance did not pay for this, Medicare did not pay for this (and) Medicaid did not pay for this,” he said, prior to offering prayer for guidance and thanks.

BHM Foundation Development Officer Cameron Lee Edwards said his heart is full due to the outpouring of support for the project. The seed was planted for the endeavor after a physical therapy staff member attended a birthday party, where a child was not able to participate in play at a park.

“This project is Madisonville’s project,” Edwards said, making access to the best care possible for children in the region. “This project grew and evolved in my lap nine months ago,” and was initiated by a gift from Rog Badgett funds.

Hopkins County Young Professionals recently sold $10,000 in T-shirts to raise money for the park in addition to funds raised or provided by the Rotary Club, Jarrett Brown Insurance and others. Several area businesses offered free or discounted materials to lay the groundwork as well.

Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton read a poem during the ceremony that was penned and published by Gage Osborne, a James Madison Middle School student:

My chair is here to support me
Not to define me
The wheels may move me
But my mind takes me places
I have to work as hard as you
But in different ways
Some are afraid to talk to me
But there is not a need to fear me
My looks may deceive
But I am the same as you

“Projects just like this will allow him to be the same as us,” the mayor said. “The same as every kid in the city of Madisonville. They’re going to be able to play right here on this playground.”

Edwards noted a child that couldn’t stand on his own recently went down the slide on the playground. Children in the Baptist Health Madisonville therapy program now have a place to play for generations to come.

Bentley Badgett spoke of “Rog” Badgett, saying the Badgett family has been blessed and they are happy to give back to the community.

“He believed in young people exercising and getting outdoors,” he said of the late family member. “I can just imagine he would be really proud.”

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