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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

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8/14/2013 6:00:00 AM
Yarnell children treated to a day of fun
Courtesy photoThese two youngsters appear to be quite pleased with their choice of stuffed critters during a movie and dinner outing for Yarnell youths.
Courtesy photo
These two youngsters appear to be quite pleased with their choice of stuffed critters during a movie and dinner outing for Yarnell youths.
Special to the Courier

Thursday, Aug. 1, was a day of fanciful fun and free-wheeling frolic for a busload of kids from Yarnell. That was the day when the Prescott Noon Lions - with support from many other well-wishers - hosted 35 children, along with 14 parents - for a movie at the Harkins Theatres complex in Prescott Valley, followed by a meal at Prescott's Golden Corral restaurant in Prescott.

The event provided an afternoon of catharsis from the kids' seeing - and worrying about - what had happened to their homes, and the effect it has had on their families, in the wake of the recent devastating wildfire that consumed much of their picturesque community and claimed the lives of 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots.

When the bus - the use of which was donated by the Prescott Unified School District - pulled up that morning at the theater complex, several Lions, along with motorcycle officers from the Prescott Valley Police Department, greeted them with gifts and well-wishes prior to their entering the theater for a private showing of an entertaining animated movie. The Harkins corporate office had learned about the trip from the local general manager, Marshall Laister, and he and his team provided the kids with their own theater, along with free popcorn, candy and soft drinks.

Following the movie, the charity group Blankets for Kids gave each of the youngsters a new blanket, doll or stuffed animal. "The kids were overjoyed with the gifts," according to Noon Lions coordinator Paul Chastain. "Some cried. It was a great moment, and the gesture was a big hit for them."

Next, the kids boarded the bus and were off to the Golden Corral. As they were leaving the bus they were greeted by Deputy Do-Right, the mascot of the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department, with whom many of the kids were acquainted from his visits to their school in the past. "The kids hugged the deputy and went with him to have lunch," Chastain said. Also welcoming the kids were the chief and some of his officers from the Prescott Tribal Police Department who provided treats for them.

Inside, they were met by the restaurant's owner and staff who had set aside a private dining area for them. And Prescott's mayor, Marlin Kuykendall, also was on hand to greet the youngsters and wish them well on their fun day. "After the kids ate a little 'healthy' food at the urging of every adult in the place," Chastain said, "they visited the huge dessert area for cookies, candy, pie, ice cream, the chocolate fountain, and, of course, cotton candy."

Finally, 'It was time to return to Yarnell," Chastain said. "The kids were hugging and thanking everyone who helped them have a great day. They boarded the bus along with some Noon Lions who rode back with them. It was a great day. And yes, the adults had as much fun as the kids!"

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, August 15, 2013
Article comment by: k n

Sacred Heart Church, (near Gurley & Grove)
is taking donations for the Yarnell families who lost their homes.
Clothes, blankets, toys, school supplies etc.

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: THANK YOU

@ Prescott Noon Lions. I am sure you made those kids day!

Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Article comment by: Shelly Bacon

The Lions club has really stepped up and helped our little community. What a touching story and this is only a glimpse of what they and other organizations have provided for us. I'm sure the kids as well as the residents of Yarnell/Peeples Valley are most appreciative - I know I am! Thank you for bringing a little light into our lives and helping us endure through this tragedy.

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