VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., May 22, 2010 The Amerigroup Foundation today joined community leaders and organizations to celebrate the grand opening of "JT's Grommet Island Park and Playground for EveryBODY." The first-of-its-kind, 100-percent handicap-accessible oceanfront park and playground, situated along the Virginia Beach coastline, is the brainchild of local entrepreneur Bruce Thompson in honor of his son Josh.
"We are excited to have played just a small part in the completion of this noteworthy project," Amerigroup Chairman and CEO James G. Carlson said. "In only a few short months, the community has rallied together, recognizing the importance of such a unique park to serve people of all abilities."
Grommet Island Park represents the vision of several Hampton Roads community leaders including the Thompson family. The 15,000-square-foot project was born out of frustration over inaccessibility to the beach for those with disabilities like Virginia Beach native Josh Thompson (JT). Thompson suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease, and his family decided to do something about the lack of beach access for those like him. Located just off the boardwalk, the oceanfront park features a cutting edge play structure with equipment that can be accessed and enjoyed by everyone.
"Right from the start, Amerigroup got on board and helped us rally supporters," said Bruce Thompson. "We appreciate the instrumental role the Company has played, its leaders and its employees. Today is a tremendous celebration of collaboration throughout our community, with some wonderful benefits for us all."
Attendees for today's groundbreaking included Amerigroup Chairman and CEO James G. Carlson, Amerigroup Foundation Chairman John E. Littel, the Honorable Chuck Graham (former State Senator, Missouri and a current member of Amerigroup's National Advisory Board on Improving Health Care Services for Seniors and People with Disabilities) and Muscular Dystrophy Association Goodwill Ambassador/Grommet Park consultant, Caroline Pennell. Noted public officials Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, Congressman Glenn Nye and Virginia Beach Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr., were also on hand to deliver remarks.
"The vision behind the park - to ensure that children and adults with disabilities can experience the sand and surf up close - has now become a reality," said John E. Littel, chairman of the Amerigroup Foundation. "We're honored to be out here on such a great day, and for such a tremendous cause."
The Amerigroup Foundation and associates across the Company have raised more than $150,000 to assist in the construction of Grommet Island Park and for the ALS Association.
To learn more about the park, visit: www.grommetisland.org.
About the Amerigroup Foundation
The Amerigroup Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Amerigroup Corporation, a multi-state managed health care company based in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Foundation works to create healthy communities by fostering access to health care, encouraging safe and healthy children and families, and promoting community improvement and healthy neighborhoods. For more information about the Amerigroup Foundation, visit www.amerigroupcorp.com/foundation.
Contact: Tara J. Wall Senior Vice President, Communications Amerigroup Corporation (757) 518-3671 Twall01@amerigroupcorp.com
SOURCE Amerigroup Foundation