Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Henry's in the house

It was a sand box, not a sand trap where PGA Tour Professional J.J. Henry found himself Tuesday.

Surrounded by students in the KinderFrogs School at TCU, Henry passed out autographed golf hats, high fives and the occasional hug as his Henry House Foundation celebrated a $25,000 grant funding therapeutic play equipment with students, staff and parents. 

“It’s so special to be able bring a smile to their faces,” Henry said. “My wife and I are filled with gratitude to be here today. We’re just happy to be a small part of what’s being accomplished here.”

Henry, who played on the 2006 Ryder Cup team and won the Buick Championship that same year, founded the non-profit Henry House Foundation to generate public awareness and support for programs focusing on the welfare of children. The Foundation specifically targets children’s medical and support services in Fort Worth and Southern New England.

Much of the donated equipment has already been put to use including a padded balance beam, trampoline, mats and balls and more is on the way, said Marilyn Tolbert, Director and Jean W. Roach Chair of Laboratory Schools. She said the gift will enable the early-intervention educational preschool to stay current with the latest therapies on both an integrated and personal level.

 “What comes naturally to other kids, takes more time with Down Syndrome kids,” she said. “This enables them to get that extra work in to develop their gross motor skills, fine motor skills and their cognitive development as well.”

“Hey buddy, you look great in that hat,’ Henry said, giving five-year-old Travis Decker a high five after he donned the autographed cap.

“Who is your favorite baseball team – that Cats or the Frogs?” Henry asked.

“The Frogs!” Travis said and reached up his arms. Henry responded by picking him up and they two shared Frog hand signs.

A native of Connecticut, Henry, ’98 and his wife, Lee ’99 met on a blind date when the two were at TCU. They have two sons – ages 4 and and 9 months - and make their home in Fort Worth where he’s also playing in the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial this week.

 “We’ve been watching all the changes on campus,” Lee said. “It’s unbelievable. The campus just gets better and better.”


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