Michelle and Greg McDonald realized the urgency of a pool fence when their 16-month-old twins Camryn and Caden started crawling and figured out how to get to the backyard through the doggy door. They even learned how to open the sliding glass door.
But the daunting $1,500 price tag for a fence wasn’t an option since Michelle was laid off before the twins were born and Greg received a pay cut in March 2009.
The family of six is struggling to pay the mortgage on their Gilbert home they’ve been in for two and a half years, and they’re still paying off medical bills.
So when Greg heard about Fulton Homes' Fence Patrol program on the radio, he entered the contest and wrote about his family’s struggles.
The McDonald family received the call they were hoping for about two weeks later, and on Tuesday, a free beige wrought iron fence was installed around their play pool and rock waterfall feature.
“We’re very appreciative,” said Greg McDonald, a supply chain manager for a Gilbert paint company. “First and foremost, our concern is with the safety of our kids.”
The McDonald family also includes 11-year-old Cody, a fifth grader at Riggs Elementary School, and Chelsi, 15, a Perry High School freshman. “It’s definitely a great thing,” said Michelle McDonald, who lost her job in November 2008 after the family auto body shop she worked for closed. “I thought there was no way we’d get (a free pool fence).”
The Tempe-based Fulton Homes’ Fence Patrol Program is choosing 12 needy families this summer to receive a free pool fence. This is the ninth year of the program, said Christina Salgado, a public relations account manager for Fulton Homes.
“They choose the winner based on the dire situation of the family and the compelling narrative,” Salgado said. “Fulton Homes is a strong proponent for water safety programs. Mr. (Ira) Fulton (founder of Fulton Homes) wanted to help assist families in the community that were deserving and couldn’t afford the proper safeguards around water.”
Seven deaths, including three children, have resulted from 34 water-related incidents in Arizona this year, according to childrensafetyzone.com, which collaborates with local fire departments, hospitals and the media to gather statistics and stories on water-related incidents and fatalities in the state.
Michelle McDonald said that her kids can now play safely in the backyard with the family’s two cockapoos, Lucy and Bo, and she doesn’t have to worry.
“This is definitely a blessing,” she said. “We’re just so happy.”
Families can nominate themselves or another family until July 4. For more information, visit www.kmle108.com.