Fresh Air Inner-City Kid Returns to the Valley One Year After Derecho Storm

By: David Coy Email
By: David Coy Email

HARRISONBURG -- Children from one inner-city are looking to enjoy some fresh air in the country in the Valley. This isn't the first trip for some them.

The Fresh Air Fund welcomed many inner-city children to the Valley to give them a fresh perspective. After going through the derecho last year, one young man couldn't wait to come back.

Crowds gathered with families waiting to welcome their new house guests. Kevin Chalen is back for his second trip in the Valley. He said he wanted to come back because of the open spaces of the Valley.

"There's more space to run around but in New York there are so many buildings that there's no space to play or run around," said Chalen.

Gwen Horning has volunteered with Fresh Air for a number of years. She and her family are welcoming Kevin into their home.

"It is just a little extra work but it's so worth it to see your children experience and get to know him and the life that he has there," said Horning.

Kevin says he couldn't wait to see old friends.

"When I am over here I get to meet more friends than what I have now," said Chalen.

Kevin arrived in the Valley last year on the same day as the derecho storm ran through the area. Friday, it's blue skies and much calmer weather. That's what Kevin wanted to come back to.

"It was frightening but also exciting. So if that would happen again it would be exciting because we are all prepared," said Chalen.

Horning said the kids experience new things.

"Seeing the stars or looking at the cows as we drive by. In the fields, they get really like for that," said Horning.

Kevin and the others will be visiting the valley for the next 10 days. None of the children had to pay for the trip.

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