President Bush recognizes efforts of Monroe girl

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:49

    Monroe-Jaclyn (Jackie) Williams received a certificate, letter and gold medal from President George W. Bush. The 10-year-old Monroe girl also received a letter from the Service Award Council signed by world renowned astronaut John Glenn. And although these acknowledgments are cherished, they will never compare to the outpouring of support received from local residents. After months of fundraising, Jackie Williams presented her best friend Allison Murphy with a wheelchair swing. Allison was born with cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair. She is also legally blind and epileptic. Her mother Laurie describes her as outgoing "with a smile that lights up the room and a bubbly personality." "We received almost $6,000 in donations," said Jackie's mother, Alba. "Jackie even got a letter from a Sullivan Correctional Facility inmate," she added. The inmate, who speaks to school children as a condition of his rehabilitation, sent $25 and promised to send money for Allison for the next three years. Allison got an early peek at her surprise with her parents and Jaclyn's family present. Later, a more formal unveiling was held with family, friends and some contributors. Cheryl Fils-Aime, owner of Cherfotos Images in Harriman, provided the portrait for the Thank You cards mailed to contributors. "I was very happy to help. They're wonderful little girls," she said. Some contributors did not receive cards because their names and addresses were not available. "We were unable to send everyone cards, but I want to make sure everyone who made a donation of any kind knows how much their gifts were appreciated," said Alba. "We also want to thank Jim Champlin and Hannaford's Supermarket. They helped Jaclyn so much," Alba said. The New Windsor location matched funds raised by Jaclyn. District Manager Kevin Hill was present in Jim Champlin's absence. "When we read the article in The Photo News, we were moved by the determination of Jackie to help her friend. As an organization we pride ourselves on being active in the community. Jim and I felt this was a very noble cause," he said. "I'm very happy to know that Allison is happy with her swing," Jackie told her mother while being put to bed, "but that really doesn't mean anything. I wish I could get them a car." There is approximately $3,600 left, some of which was specifically donated to Allison. Although the Murphy family feels it should all go towards the Allie Foundation to make community parks handicap accessible, Jackie and her mother feel they should at least use the funds sent to Allison to purchase a car better equipped to handle her. Currently, her parents have to lift her in and out of the car. Regardless of how the money is used, how it came about is more significant. An ambitious little girl had a wish for her best friend to have a wheelchair swing. She asked for help and the community jumped right in. Allison is now able to enjoy swinging without having to be lifted and held. "I love it," she said. Special thanks were given to the following individuals and businesses: Joe Dierna Sr. and Joe Dierna Jr. of O & R Builders and J.J.D. Builders, Greg Matossian Abbott Broomfield, Phil Esposito, Ed Leonard, Kevin Turnbull, Robert Williams, Pablo Kostycz, Fran's Hallmark, Kevin of Bagel World, Mike of Hickory Hollow Nurser