Effort will benefit foundation


Ice plant to be transformed by colorful mural
By Lynn R. Parks

Since its construction in 1958, the south-facing cement block wall of the Seaford Ice Plant has been just that: a cement block wall. And that is something that the Delmarva Sign Association intends to change.
On April 29, volunteers with the association will paint three scenes on the 100-foot by 16-foot wall. Art students from Seaford High School will paint another scene. Proceeds from mural sponsorships will go to the Kaitlin Marie Bell Foundation, which helps families of disabled children with medical and equipment expenses.
"We hope to raise between $10,000 and $12,000," said Sylvia Brohawn, owner of Sly Designs, Seaford, and a member of the Delmarva Sign Association.
"That will mean a lot," said Becky Bell, Seaford, secretary-treasurer of the foundation. "People have no idea how expensive special equipment is for special-needs children." A wheelchair can cost $5,000 and a collapsible chair made to support a child who has trouble sitting can cost up to $2,000, she said.
Kaitlin Bell, Becky's granddaughter, was born in June 1994. At the age of 13 months, she suffered a severe head
injury in a car accident that killed her mother. Doctors at Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told the child's father, James Bell, that she would never again be aware of her surroundings.
"They said that she would never eat and that she would never walk," said Becky Bell. "But before her death, she was able to eat and was very aware of her surroundings. And she was able to walk in a special walker."
Kaitlin died Aug. 15, 1998, when she was 4 years old. The foundation, of which her father is president and her stepmother, Teisha, vice president, was formed shortly thereafter to "help improve the quality of life for other special needs children who could also benefit from services such as physical, occupational and speech therapy, or from special equipment such as chairs, walkers and standers." Since its start, it has helped two children, one who needed a special chair and the other who needed a ventilator upgrade.
"A little thing like going to your work to pick up your paycheck is a small thing for most of us, but it can certainly be a burden for a parent with a special-needs child. We want to make the parents' life easier and make things more comfortable for the child," said Becky Bell.

Last year, the 35-member Delmarva Sign Company, founded about 18 months ago, painted a mural on a bare wall at the corner of US 13 and Main Street in Salisbury. Proceeds from that project, which amounted to a little over $8,000, benefited 17 athletes with the Lower Shore chapter of Special Olympics.
"We want to help a localized charity," said Brohawn. Her group decided on the Bell Foundation when Brohawn's sister, Ursula Holland, a nurse in the intensive care unit of Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and a friend of Bell's, suggested it.
Brohawn called Mark Bryan, owner of the ice plant, and asked that he allow the group to paint a mural on the white ice plant wall. He was so taken with the project that not only did he give permission, he ended up donating $1,200 to the Bell Foundation.
"He could [rent] that wall for billboards," said Seaford mayor Dan Short, who has volunteered to help paint. Billboards rent for up to $500 a month and there is room on the wall for four large signs, Short said. "Or he could advertise his other business [Harborhouse Seafood] up there. Instead, he is donating it to support the foundation and support the town."
The mural will be painted in durable oil-base sign writer's paint, said Sly Designs employee Travis Heinicke. One section will depict the Woodland Ferry and another the ice plant. The third section will represent the Nanticoke Little League association. Designs are by sign association members Wally Makuchal, Girdletree, Md., Jeff Davis, Ocean Pines, Md., and Heinicke. The design of the fourth, to be painted by the SHS students, has yet to be decided; sign association members have suggested the Ross Mansion.
"You can see that wall for a quarter mile," said Bryan. "The mural will be very visible."
"It will be very vibrant colors," added Heinicke. "It will jump."
Ice blocks in the ice plant mural will feature the names of sponsors who have given $250. Smaller blocks around the border of the mural will have the names of $50 sponsors.
For $5, members of the community will be allowed to write their names in a "graffiti corner." A brass plaque, to be installed by the sign association, will read, "The Delmarva Sign Association, benefiting the Kaitlin Marie Bell Foundation, presents Wall Day 2000."
"We will need another wall next year," said Brohawn.
"We would like this to become like a yearly wall festival. We would like for people to be thinking all year, 'Where will the next wall be?' "
As for this year, "We want to see people come out," she added. "We want them to watch, we want them to paint. We want it to be a festive day."