Wheelchair accessible swing brings smile to Robeson County resident

·2 min read

Jun. 11—PEMBROKE — A new feature was added recently to Archie Oxendine Park in Pembroke that left one local resident with a memory he won't soon forget.

An Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant swing was added Tuesday to the park, allowing 56-year-old Jeff Scott, the opportunity to swing for the first time. Scott must use a wheelchair to get around and receives daily care from family members.

But, the moment he drove his electric wheelchair to the swing, he yelled for joy, according to Barbara Scott Seals, Scott's sister.

"[H]e was ecstatic," Barbara said in a statement obtained by The Robesonian.

Tears were shed by those in attendance, she added.

"Thank you to Mrs Judy Sampson would be an understatement," Barbara wrote.

The swing installment resulted from a partnership between Robeson County Commissioner Judy Sampson and the Robeson County Parks and Recreation Department, Sampson told The Robesonian.

Sampson purchased the swing which cost about $4,000 through county discretionary funds, said Wendy Chavis, director of the county's Parks and Recreation Department. There are more ADA-compliant equipment at other parks but the wheelchair-accessible swing is the first of its kind at county-maintained parks.

The department plans to place more ADA-compliant equipment at other county parks, but doesn't have enough funding in its budget to place equipment at all parks, Chavis said. Thus, funding given by Sampson was greatly appreciated.

"I'm thankful she looks out for her community," Chavis said.

The commissioner told The Robesonian "it always bothered me when I would take my children to the park and see children in a wheelchair just looking at other children having fun."

Sampson said "all parks should be inclusive" and watching Scott become the first to try out the swing was an emotional experience.

The swing is a reflection of the Robeson County Parks and Recreation Department's mission to serve all Robeson County residents, according to Anthony Govan, a program specialist at RCPRD.

"This swing is just the start of it and hopefully we can get more in the future," Govan told The Robesonian.

Reach Jessica Horne at 910-416-5165 or via email at jhorne@robesonian.com.