‘Labor of love’ — Playhouses to benefit CASA

A miniature version of a fire station, complete with vintage pull handle alarm and a firefighters pole sits inside a bay at the Port Acres area fire station.

The 6-foot by 8-foot building, constructed by firefighters over a three week period and built with donated materials, will soon be on display at Parkdale Mall in Beaumont. The sale of the playhouses benefit Casas for CASA 2015.

Port Arthur Fire Engineer Mike Perez, left, and Captain Gerrit Achord stand in front of a playhouse built by firefighters for Casas for CASA fundraiser. Mary Meaux/The News

Port Arthur Fire Engineer Mike Perez, left, and Captain Gerrit Achord stand in front of a playhouse built by firefighters for Casas for CASA fundraiser.
Mary Meaux/The News

CASA, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southeast Texas Inc. is a nonprofit, non-governmental service organization that recruits, trains and supervises community volunteers who advocate for abused and neglected children in the pursuit of safe, permanent homes, according to CASA.

Port Arthur Fire captains Tim Mitchell and Gerrit Achord walked around the playhouse recently pointing out various areas of interest such as an automatic roll-up door, child sized door, ‘airplane’ style desk and more.

A view inside the playhouse built by Port Arthur firefighters for Casas for CASA fundraiser. Mary Meaux/The News

A view inside the playhouse built by Port Arthur firefighters for Casas for CASA fundraiser.
Mary Meaux/The News

This is the first year Port Arthur Firefighters Local 397 has participated in the fundraiser, Achord said.

Achord, who is a CASA volunteer, said the playhouse is a labor of love.

Richard P. LeBlanc Unit Warden Darren Wallace said his group is putting finishing touches on a playhouse that looks like the wheelhouse of an oil tanker. Staff members Daniel Sawyer, Paul Cherry and Mary Johnson had a hand in the construction and supervised the work of the volunteer offenders on the project, he said.

“We are very pleased to be given an opportunity to participate while pursuing the opportunity to reintegrate the offender into society,” Wallace said.

A ship replica playhouse, which was created by staff and offender volunteers at the Richard P. LeBlanc Unit, will be on view at Parkdale Mall in Beaumont as part of Casas for CASA fundraiser. Courtesy photo

A ship replica playhouse, which was created by staff and offender volunteers at the Richard P. LeBlanc Unit, will be on view at Parkdale Mall in Beaumont as part of Casas for CASA fundraiser.
Courtesy photo

This marks the first time the LeBlanc Unit has participated in the playhouse project which Wallace called beneficial.

“We are members of the community and like to contribute and there’s no better way than to help children who are in the roughest time of their life.”

The LeBlanc Unit is a pre-release substance abuse treatment facility that houses, on average, 1,200 people. Offenders take part in a six month program then leave the unit on parole.

Christy Heisner, resource development coordinator for CASA of Southeast Texas Inc., said the event is not just about building playhouses.

“It is rebuilding the shattered lives of children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect,” Heisner said. “Volunteers advocate for these children on a daily basis so we are able to rebuild strong confident children who will one day become productive citizens of our community.”

Five unique playhouses will be featured at Parkdale Mall in Beaumont from Sept. 25 through Oct. 3.

Builders this year include: Kent Walston, Tom Cockrell of DRC Construction, Sammy Bevilacqua of Bevilacqua Construction, Port Arthur Fire Department Local No. 397 and the Richard P. LeBlanc Unit.

Volunteers will be selling raffle tickets at Parkdale Mall and tickets may be purchased online this year at www.casasetx.org

The drawing for the playhouses will be at 3 p.m. Oct. 3 at Parkdale Mall.

E-mail: mary.meaux@panews.com

Twitter: MaryMeauxPANews

Local

Motiva makeover benefits Lamar Park in Port Arthur

Local

Chili’s permanently closes in Port Arthur; area locations remain open

Local

First Financial Bank, Southeast Region announces promotion for Blaine Caillier

Local

Response leaders update tornado recovery process; Port Arthur officials seek more data

Beaumont

2 arrested, confess to Kidd Grocery armed robbery

Local

$57K seized, suspected cocaine discovered following Port Arthur search

Local

Environmental Champions celebrated; Port Arthur LNG helping fund projects throughout the city

High School Sports

Track and field athletes ace area meet, advance to regionals next week

Local

Trees For Houston tree giveaway open to public at First Baptist Church in Nederland

Local

Area female recovering after being struck by train

Local

Port Neches Police Department arrests and responses: April 1-7

Local

Port Arthur man found guilty following 2022 Beaumont killing

Local

Port Arthur Police tout weapons seizures during recent arrests

Local

Entergy Texas says “most customers” to have power restored by end of day Wednesday

Local

STORM STORIES — Residents describe sound of tornado amid scattered Port Arthur destruction

Local

Red Cross opening Port Arthur shelter; provides avenue to donate and volunteer

Local

Resources shared for Port Arthur residents impacted by tornado, bad weather

Local

Pastor of tornado-damaged church puts strength in faith; “the whole roof went boom,” neighbor says

Local

Likely tornado and bad weather strike Port Arthur, leaving lots of damage

Local

Severe weather leads to Port Arthur ISD school closures; impacts felt all across region

Local

Best of 2024 nominations nears its end; see how to vote now

Local

Animal rescue operator finds story inspiration with “Adventures of Keke;” local book signing planned

College/Pro Sports

Chloe Gomez connects on goal with college scholarship decision

Local

Former Rose City secretary indicted for embezzlement