This deserves a little extra attention, and it would be hard to write a news article on it….

Two weeks ago, I drove by the Colville Tribal Head Start in Nespelem and saw men working in the play yard. They’d taken down some fencing, and when I saw them, the cement truck had just driven away. Jesse Palmer Construction’s guys were working freshly poured mud, smoothing the cement that snaked around the yard…

Jesse was there as were Shane Palmer, Doc Walker, Dan Cox and Keith Kyle.

This is what deserves attention.

As the woods were shut down, a few of the guys wanted to continue to work. Palmer had had a project, but not a lot of time to get to it. He’d agreed to donate work hours to the Nespelem Head Start Parent Committee to install a bike path in the playground at the school.

The parent committee had raised nearly $20,000 over the last two years with fundraisers like candy-grams, Indian taco sales and 50/50 raffles to name but a few, committee member Dorothy Palmer – Jesse Palmer’s mother – told me.

Much of that money went to graduations. A bit of the money was used for the Nespelem Head Start float at Colorama.

But the committee saved some to invest in the playground.

It’s more a fact than a judgment to say the playground had been rough – “Head Start just doesn’t get enough money to do those things,” said Dorothy – and although it does not seem to slow the kids, the playground was due for improvements.

With funds remaining, the committee purchased some toys and cement from Coulee Dam Concrete for the bike path. Jesse Palmer Construction donated the work, completing the bike path and doing some other small landscaping tasks.

There is work that remains to be done: The committee is hoping to install a basketball hoop – which will need a cement pad – and a sand box, said Dorothy.

Landscaping is needed as well, said Jesse, “Those kids can’t get across that gravel very well. It’s actually a safety hazard, I think. We back-bladed and tried to cut out as much [of the weeds] as possible, but those root bases are pretty deep on some of those weeds.”

But the funding can only stretch so far – and that’s where Jesse made a challenge to other community members, parents and contractors: “If there is more time from any of these other contractors or parents, I would gladly help. They need a basketball hoop, a sand box, armory and landscaping.”

Perhaps he referenced the fact that his own mother roped him into volunteering his crew when Jesse concluded: “The moms are sure doing a lot, but…”

NOTE OF DISCLOSURE: Jesse Palmer Construction advertises in Tribal Tribune.

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