Thanks to a recent donation from Rulon International’s Guitars for Children program, patients from Shriners Hospitals for Children — Tampa now have the opportunity to fill their lives, homes and our hospital hallways with the magic of music. This is because the St. Augustine-based wood, wall and ceiling manufacturing company has been busy perfecting something other than state-of-the-art wood ceilings and acoustical wood walls...wooden guitars for kids.
With the mission to “manufacture 10,000 two-string, wooden, toy guitars that will be decorated and distributed to sick children across the United States and beyond,” Rulon’s Guitars for Children program is committed to keeping kids smiling during those quick and not-so-quick hospital visits.
Based on the reactions, these guitars have really “struck a chord” with our families. “Thank you so much for my guitar,” said Kamryn, Tampa Shriners Hospital patient and member of a family with quintuplets. “Watch me play,” she said as she strummed on her new instrument and posed for a picture alongside her brother and sisters.
This new partnership started in early February when Tim Tyler, coordinator of the Guitars for Children program, expressed interest in partnering with our hospital system. He shared that his goal was to send guitars to multiple hospitals in the 22-hospital Shriners Hospitals network, and the Tampa hospital could be first.
Fortunately for members of our St. Augustine Shrine Club, Rulon International’s generosity did not stop there. They continued their hospitality by inviting members to visit their facility, where they received a behind-the-scenes tour, enjoyed lunch and even shook hands with owners Wayne and Eleanor Robison.
“They put all their heart into the whole process and are just fantastic people,” said Garret Wolfe, president of the St. Augustine Shrine Club. “All of us had a wonderful experience.”
Pictured: The quintuplets show off their new guitars, courtesy of Rulon International. Kamryn, far right, is a patient at the Tampa Shriners Hospital.