A terrible tradgedy happened in Atlanta, Georgia a year ago. A child left to die of heat stroke within a closed automobile. This incident weighed heavily upon Roxs Bourgeois and she decided to do something about it. On the June 18th, a 22-month toddler left in a closed car that increased in heat as the day grew longer. Blonde hair, blue-eyed boy left by his father for hours all alone, strapped into a car seat with no way of exiting the car by himself.
Roxs stated, “Hearing on the news how this poor baby boy died hit me really hard. They showed pictures of baby Cooper and he reminded me so much of my first born son Seth. I couldn’t imagine my own son going thru something so agonizing and cruel. I wanted to shout out to the world – people why do you leave your kids alone in your cars – especially in the summer months; don’t you know how hot cars can get? I thought, no more, no more children dying in hot cars.” “This time I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing – but what could ‘I’ do? This wasn’t my child that died – but yet, shouldn’t everyone be protectors of children.” Roxs continued.
A group of individuals along with Roxs formed a group just as a way to vent their anger regarding Cooper’s death. Out of those meetings an idea formed to build a play park to honor Cooper. A place that children would be able to play under cool shade trees. The group kept imagining and asking, “What if Cooper had been under a shade tree that day?” The concluded answer was, “he may still be here today.” The group of concerned citizens is hoping that Cooper will be playing alongside the other children from the afterlife. The group cried as they stated, “how much he must have cried that day for someone, anyone to come and help him.”
The group first set up a “GoFundMe” account to raise money to fund the park. The account had a second purpose and that included awareness. The fund was to not only raise money to build the park but to raise awareness and education on the dangers of leaving children in vehicles alone. Not only death can occur, but if, by chance they are rescued before death, brain and nerve damage occurs from heat strokes. A total of $780.00 was raised. Marietta local newspaper and television coverage was exciting, but it still did not raise enough funds, and that seemed to be where the story ended until an article with the Associated Press. The article touched a man named, Keith McSorley. He actually took the time to read the Cooper Tree House Play Park’s mission statement and thought he could help. The author of the article, Hilary Butschek, sent a message to the group regarding Keith’s interest in the article and their efforts.
Upon contact Mr. McSorely made an offer. He wanted to build the Cooper Tree House Play Park within the proposed Cobb International Village. Roxs was overwhelmed and said, “ Seeing the dream that we had for baby Cooper and actually making it become a reality for us – this sweet little child deserved so much.” Within the Village the new name will now be known as Cooper’s Tree House. Cooper’s Tree House will contain a water soaker pad and the playground will be named “Cooper’s Cove.” .
Keith is the developer of the proposed Cobb International Village (http://www.ourcobbpark.com) understood that it would take a long time to raise the funds needed to reach the group’s goal. Making it a part of the village made a lot more sense and the group can continue to educate the general public on child safety within vehicles. The Cooper Tree House Play Park group hopes to eliminate hot car deaths and hold annual events reminding the public to be aware and on the look-out as people go about their day.
The opposition from the surrounding area may be a huddle that both Mr. McSorley and the Cooper Tree House group have to jump. They are both hoping that the issues can be resolved giving the Cooper memorial a chance to make a difference. The park design promotes environmental sustainability awareness, disability friendly, with event and education forum comfort along with many other attributes. It will be the first of its kind in the metro-Atlanta area. Other cities with designed private parks have found them to be successful and educational.
The group is asking the pubic to contact them at the facebook page. Please visit: https://www.facebook.com/CoopersTreeHouseMemorialPlayPark?ref=hl