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Life lessons and lemonade: Boy’s stand earns money for Children’s Hospital, teaches children importance of giving

Kayla Carter • Jul 20, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Anyone that drove up Hillrise Boulevard on Saturday couldn’t miss the gathering of neighbors, friends, family and children around a bright yellow lemonade stand that has served to raise money for the Niswonger Children’s Hospital two years in a row.

This year Grant’s Lemonade Stand, adorning a lemonade and lemon slice-filled pitcher, chocolate brownies topped with powdered sugar, cookies and treats for the canines, earned $1,103 and some change, said Cookie McKinney, manager of Children’s Initiatives with the Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

“We are thrilled,” said McKinney, who hosted the event in her front yard. “Last year we made $1,200. We are hoping to get close to that, but it’s really about more than the money. We hope we make lots of money, but teaching little people that it feels good to help other little people is part of what we like to do.”

The stand was created after Grant Stout, 5, who spent 90 days in the Niswonger Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, came up with the idea to give back to the hospital that helped nurture him after he was born about 12 weeks premature and weighed 2 pounds, 5 ounces.

Grant’s father, Johnson City Vice Mayor Clayton Stout, said he was humbled by the turnout.

“We’ve been very fortunate today,” Stout said. “The weather has been holding off for us. We’ve had steady traffic and as always close friends and family are always out to support us and the community.”

Grant never stopped smiling while he played with friends, toys and a puppy that was brought by the stand, which was open from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

“We’re raising some money and Grant is excited,” Stout said. “It’s great to see all the kids out here, too.”

Not only were children enjoying themselves, but McKinney said dogs were invited to join in on the summer fun.

“We like to have fun and invite people to bring their pets because even canines can get into the fun,” McKinney said. “It’s a feel-good Saturday. We are hoping to do it every summer.”

McKinney said people stopped by before the stand was fully set up to drop off checks because they wouldn’t be able to come during the time it was open.

“We feel like this is something really fun and worth while and our neighbors are just wonderful to come out,” McKinney said. “It’s one of the few times we can all get together.”

Making their stop by the stand, neighbors Polly Crowder and her husband Mark quenched their thirst to give back to the hospital and celebrate Grant’s life.

“We go way back,” said Polly with her lemonade in hand. “We met them when we first moved into the neighborhood, so I guess we’ve been longtime friends and neighbors. We just love watching their family grow up. It was such a miracle with Grant.”

Polly said she was thankful to have the Niswonger Children’s Hospital in her community.

“We’re just so fortunate to have that,” Polly said.

Polly also said she was thrilled to be around so many of her friends and neighbors.

“It’s wonderful,” she said. “We haven’t had a neighborhood party in a while and it just makes you want to do more of these things especially with all the kids running around.”

Stout said he was touched by the support and hopes everyone understands all the money goes to a good cause.

“It helps people from all spectrums of life,” Stout said. “The hospital is there to assist children in their times of need. We’re just glad this can go into a special fund.”

For more photos, check out Dave Boyd's photo gallery.

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