June 29, 2004

Donors open wallets for SIUC's Camp Little Giant

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- More than 70 special-needs campers wheeled into the dining hall at Southern Illinois University Carbondale's Camp Little Giant today (June 29) to meet and eat alongside donors who have given about $16,000 in financial assistance and medical supplies to make campers' experiences more enjoyable.

Located at SIUC's Touch of Nature Outdoor Environmental Center, the residential summer camp is geared to adults and children with disabilities. Over the course of the summer, hundreds of them -- many who need individual help in getting around -- will flock to Camp Little Giant for camaraderie, campfires, canoeing, crafts and other camp experiences.

Last year, four area healthcare corporations -- Southern Illinois Healthcare, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Southern Illinois Surgical Supply and Midwest Medical Supply -- became inaugural sponsors of the nonprofit camp. This year, in what camp organizers are calling the "Big Hands for Little Giants" campaign, a host of additional benefactors have followed their lead.

David L. Gename, Touch of Nature's director, is grateful for this burgeoning support, which comes in the form of financial and in-kind gifts that run the gamut from wheelchairs to bed rails to Band-Aids.

"We want to thank our four corporate sponsors for helping to make camp happen this year, and we also wish to welcome and thank community service groups, churches, sororities, individuals and others who've generously helped to underwrite camp costs for so many of our campers this summer," he said.

"For more than 50 years, SIUC's Camp Little Giant has proven to be a life-changing experience for our special campers, our staff and the University students who work here."

A breakdown shows Southern Illinois Healthcare donated $5,000; a trio of other area health companies, including the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Southern Illinois Surgical Supply and MMS: A Medical Supply Co., came up with $5,000 worth of goods and supplies; and gifts of cash from another 40 community organizations added $6,000 to the campaign.

After lunch, SIUC administrators recognized the donors and gave them certificates of appreciation.

Shaping cooperative ventures like this is one of the goals of Southern@150, a blueprint to propel SIUC into the ranks of the nation's top 75 public research institutions by its 150th birthday in 2019.

A list of donors, alphabetically by hometowns:

  • Benton: Marlene G. Sample with the The Lords of Paheece Christian Motorcyclists;

  • Carbondale: Beta Sigma Phi- Epsilon; Knights of Columbus; Leigh Brackett and Annette Vaillancourt with the Little Egypt Networking Association; J. Hugh Shelnut; Southern Illinois Healthcare; Southern Illinois Surgical Appliance; Dean Haake, Larry Haake, Don Glenn, Bill Thalman and Chris Gaugh with the Jackson County Business Boosters; Xi Nu Theta; and the Kiwanis Club;

  • Carterville: Jim Chasteen with Fellowship in Christ Church; Barry E. and Keren D. Cupp; and the Poshard Foundation for Abused Children;

  • Creal Springs: Larry Vaugh, Rev. Ray Conley, Ivan and Cheryl Lister, Robert and Helen Rice, Larry and Pixie Vaughn, all with Mt. Moriah General Baptist Church;

  • Chicago: The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago;

  • Herod: John and Alberta Stanley;

  • Herrin: Camarato Distributing; Knights of Columbus;

  • Glenview: Kathleen Halstead and the Illinois Tool Works Foundation;

  • Marion: Bountiful Harvest Ministries; John Heidelbaugh; Knights of Columbus;

  • Murphysboro: Dr. Punnoose and Mary Packikara;

  • Peoria: Mary B. Morganstern with Delta Theta Tau Sorority;

  • Shawneetown: Church of God;

  • Woodlawn: Dell Hill with Delta Theta Tau Sorority.


  • Derby: Danny Al and Pamela A. Harding.


  • Moose Lake: Joseph P. and Beverley A. Vavra.


  • St. Louis: MMS: A Medical Supply Co.