Betty Poore: What's New on the Charleston Coast Blog: My Brother Jerry

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Brother Jerry

Last week, my brother, Jerry Poore, was nominated for The Jefferson Award. This award honors people for their contributions to their community. In this case, Jerry and his company, Jerry Poore Landscaping, along with friends and some of his business vendors, created an outdoor classroom for James Island Elementary, the school his son Jack attends. To learn about the Jefferson Awards and to read the article just click here.

When son's school called, Jerry Poore answered

The Post and Courier
Sunday, April 6, 2008

Landscape contractor Jerry Poore designed and built an outdoor classroom at this site for James Island Elementary School.

Photo by Wade Spees
The Post and Courier

Landscape contractor Jerry Poore designed and built an outdoor classroom at this site for James Island Elementary School.

Not long after James Island Elementary School opened its doors five years ago, its teachers and staff hoped to create an outdoor classroom next to a large retaining pond.

The vision was ambitious, and expensive, so not much happened. Until last spring.

That's when someone mentioned to the organizers that parent Jerry Poore was in the landscaping business. One of those organizers, kindergarten teacher Lynette Kelley, said, "We called him, and he immediately said he would love to become involved."

Poore spent much of the summer designing the classroom, trying to incorporate as many of the parents' and teachers' ideas as possible.

"I didn't want to let them down," he said. "My son (Jack) goes here, so I was into it."

Poore not only designed the classroom, but he later helped get his blueprints approved by the Charleston County School District.

And then his crew built it.

The classroom, which was dedicated last week, is nestled along about a third of an acre of the pond and includes a "Carolina fence," with the state flower Yellow Jessamine growing up it. It also includes a butterfly garden, a mixture of native trees and sweetgrass, plus paths and two wooden decks where students can sit without risking red ant bites.

It also will include an osprey pole and a few dead trees where the pond's turtles can sun themselves.

Poore didn't want to wait on grants or fundraising. He was able to get some help from friends, such as Paul Greve, who built the decks.

Poore approached other companies with whom he does business, such as Church Creek Nursery, D.H. Hankins Trucking Co., Low Falls Wholesale Nursery and Carolina Supplies & Materials Inc., and asked them to provide material or plants for little or no charge. "I leaned on a lot of them — payback time," Poore said.

He got the S.C. Center for Birds of Prey to donate an osprey perch, while S.C. Electric and Gas sunk the pole into the pond.

Despite all this help, Poore estimates that he still paid for about $23,000 of the $30,000-plus project out of his own pocket.

"He has not asked for anything. He has not asked for one penny one time," Kelley said. "We feel we ought to try to give something back to him."

As he walked around the classroom as his crews were adding a few final touches, Poore expressed more concern about whether the classroom would be used and maintained than about any reimbursement that might come his way.

Kelley said Poore needn't worry about it being used: The outdoor classroom is a perfect place for the school's 500 students to learn about science, language and art. "There are a lot of standards we can address through this," she said. "It started as just a little project, and it's become a big project."

And Poore is the one who single-handedly made it so.

"Once I started," he said, "I didn't want to stop."

# posted by Betty Poore @ 4:24 PM

Thank You Jerry for your hard work and expense to make James Island Elem. a better place. Both my niece and nephew also attend JI Elem.

Jay Hughes
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : 12:04 AM
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