Paige Floyd, Renee Farnes, and Nick Krekeler graduated from Colorado State University in May, but they weren’t ready to move on just yet.
The engineering students had spent months working on their senior design capstone project when COVID-19 interrupted their semester. Because they had to move to online classes, they didn’t have to finish, but Paige, Nick, and Renee weren’t ready to give up. They had to make someone smile!
Their mission was to design and build a custom swing for a Fort Collins local named Dylan Bush. The 27-year-old has autism and loves to swing. The only problem is that few swing sets can accommodate his size.
That’s why his mom Holly reached out to Genevieve Marmaduke, a case manager at Foothills Gateway, which provides services to people with special needs.
Genevieve got in touch with the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering, where the student trio took on the project. They quickly got to planning in August 2019.
When the pandemic began, the three of them told Holly they were going to keep going, even after they graduated. Together, they worked for days under the July sun — with some help from the Poudre Fire Authority. Meanwhile, the firefighters gave Dylan a tour of their truck, and everyone had a great time.
“When you have a child like Dylan, you always wish for other people to see them the way you see them,” Holly said.
[The students] asked questions and seemed to want to be with him. It was just a really good feeling that they weren’t here just for themselves to get their project done. They seemed happy to be here and meet him and talk with us.
But the best part came when Dylan finally got to try out the final product!
“Watching our client truly enjoy his new swing with grace was so surreal to me; that is the part of engineering I love,” Nick wrote. “Knowing that my hard work and skill set not only improved another person’s life, it also left a lasting positive impact.”
Genevieve added, “To think that so many people have been involved for an entire year, just for this one amazing person — it makes my heart sing.”
What a thoughtful group! While these three weren’t graded on their project, they got something even better by seeing Dylan’s joy!
Check out footage from the build below, and share this story to brighten someone’s day.
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