Staff photos by Allison Potter
Tony Butler, from left, Drevian Taggart, Jim Mincher, Jim Rees and Jeff Green cut the ribbon on the half-pipe donated by Mincher to the Brigade Boys and Girls Club on Friday, Jan. 18.
Logan Siu, 13, peered through his aviator sunglasses at the wooden half-pipe standing at the Brigade Boys and Girls Club.
Unlike many of the other children in the crowd, Siu has skated for about four years.
“This is just amazing,” Siu said, holding his hands straight in front of him toward the ramp. “... I just love the speed and the wind going in my face.”
On Friday, Jan. 18, a ribbon cutting was held to celebrate the completion of the ramp rebuilding after
the move from Jim Mincher’s property on Wrightsville Beach to between the youth and teen buildings at the club.
Emily Alfaro, 9, usually hangs out with her friends or plays basketball in the gym while at the Boys and Girls Club.
“I want to learn how to skateboard,” Alfaro said. “Every time someone skateboards it just looks fun.”
Jim Rees, who finished working on the half-pipe on Thursday, Jan. 17, said the same children would come up to him while he was working, asking when the half-pipe would be complete.
Along with adding a new top layer of plywood to the ramp, Rees placed wooden railings on the two raised sides of the ramp.
“It went together easily,” he said.
On behalf of Hope from Helen, Tony Butler donated skateboards, helmets and protective gear for the kids to use along with the half-pipe.
LJ Woodard filmed the activities with a handheld camera to put together a documentary for Cucalorus and in hopes of getting a skate park in Wrightsville Beach.
“It’s unbelievable what came over me when I walked in here,” Mincher said to the crowd before everyone counted down from five for the ribbon cutting. “... It’s really, really neat to see all of this excitement. … It makes this whole thing worthwhile.”
He told the kids it would take some time before they would be able to stand on the raised sides and drop into the middle of the pipe. Rees and Mincher’s sons, Dillon and Jon, showed the children their skills, from years of experience, on the ramp following the ribbon cutting.
Club executive director Jeff Green said he is also going to try out the half-pipe.
“I think it will draw in not only some of the teens, but the younger kids,” he said, adding that it is also an opportunity to bring in more volunteers.