Mount Vernon daycare director, welder team up to create special ‘tree’

Mount Vernon daycare director, welder team up to create special 'tree'
Published: Jul. 14, 2023 at 7:55 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 14, 2023 at 7:59 PM CDT
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MOUNT VERNON, Texas (KLTV) - A daycare director and a welder have created something special for the community.

Debbie Carrell, Director of This Little Light Learning Center, says she had a tree built for the center’s playground so that people can sit under it to read or play.

When she asked welder Brent White if he could build the tree for the children’s playground with his welding class at Northeast Texas Community College, he suggested making it for the first responders, EMS, police, fire and military personnel.

Carrell says, “the whole point of the tree is for us to invite community helpers in to read with our children. We feel that it’s going to foster a sense of community and relationship with them that they wouldn’t get otherwise.”

She also decided to dedicate it to the memories of former Mount Vernon Fire Chief Kenneth Cupp and all past and present heroes.

“Kenneth Cupp was the one that always, every year he would bring the fire trucks and let the kids spray the water and make sure we were taken care of,” says Carrell.

White says with the help of his classmates, it took them three or four hours to complete this project.

“I would like to continue to do this in the future”, says White.

Cupp’s wife, Patricia, says she was overwhelmed by the news that the tree was being dedicated to her husband.

Cupp says, “To know that so many people think so much of my husband ... it’s a legacy that he left behind that I hope other people will follow.”

And Mount Vernon Fire Chief Colin Clasby says he’s looking forward to reading to the children.

“They are our future, and we need them for the future of fire service, EMS, and police,” says Clasby.

If you’d like to see the tree, the playground is located at 534 Yates Street in Mount Vernon.