Community Builds Bridge for Wheelchair-Bound Student

Wed December 07, 2016 - Southeast Edition #25
Construction Equipment Guide

LOREAUVILLE, La. (AP) A small-town mayor's aggravation turned into a community project to help a handicapped boy get to school.

Someone kept putting rickety bridges of plywood and planks over two drainage ditches, and Loreauville Mayor Brad Clifton repeatedly moved them to mow the area.

“I mow the grass in the right of ways throughout our town,' Clifton told The Daily Iberian. “In this one location, I kept having to move these wooden planks that were laid across these two ditches. Each time I returned to mow the grass the planks were back. I was a little annoyed and wondered why the kids couldn't just jump the ditch. Why did they keep putting the planks back over the ditches?'

While mowing one day, he saw a boy replace the planks so he could push another boy in a wheelchair to a school bus stop, then help the boy onto the bus.

“I nearly fell off my mower,' Clifton said.

The boys were Brian Bruneau, a student at Loreauville High School, and his handicapped brother KeAndre Bruneau, who goes to New Iberia High School.

“I knew I had to do something to help this boy, so I contacted the principal and the head of the wood shop class at Loreauville High School,' Clifton said. The students designed a bridge, but neither the school board nor the city had the $1,300 needed for lumber.

He asked Cox Cable in Lafayette to help.

“This story is so wonderful,' said Karmen Blanco, the company's government liaison in Lafayette.

Blanco said she visited the site and talked with the boys' mother, Razeemi Bruneau.

“She praised God and hugged me, saying that she couldn't believe that Mayor Brad and me and Cox and the students at Loreauville High cared so much about her wheelchair-bound son and her family,' Blanco said.

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