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Ferguson donates more than 400 hula hoops to school

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Keegan Brade, 11, takes on seven of the handmade hula hoops that the Ferguson Distribution Center donated to Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School on Thursday morning. Kim Walter/Daily

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Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School kindergarten students Laney Deavers, left, and Sarah Harden, center, hula hoop with school library worker Donna Perry on Thursday morning. Kim Walter/Daily

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Hilda J. Barbour fifth-graders Sam Mcney, 11, and Hailey Gore, 10, use their handmade hula hoops to jump through. Ferguson Distribution Center in Front Royal donated more than 400 hula hoops to the school Thursday morning. Kim Walter/Daily

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Hailey Gore, 10, was one of the fifth-graders at HIlda J. Barbour Elementary School in Front Royal that received a handmade hula hoop from the Ferguson Distribution Center in town. Kim Walter/Daily

By Kim Walter -- kwalter@nvdaily.com

The Ferguson Distribution Center in Front Royal turned a bad situation good by recycling excess materials and turning them into more than 400 handmade hula hoops, which were then donated to Hilda J. Barbour Elementary School Thursday morning.

Excitement was apparent when the hoops were delivered. Students quickly flooded the school's front yard, taking hula hooping to a whole new level.

The red, white and blue hoops were the product of extra Zurn tubing that came back to the company and couldn't be sold, said Operations Manager Paul Dejong.

"Eventually, the notion came up to make them into hula hoops," he said.

A few months back, 30 hoops were donated to the elementary school. Since then, associates at the center perfected the product, and were able to deliver about 380 more on Thursday.

"Making them took a reasonable amount of time ... even my two hands were a part of putting them together," he added. "There was definitely personal love put into them."

Each of Barbour's 88 fifth graders were able to take a hoop home, with the remaining hoops staying at the school.

Principal Joey Waters said the hoops are making a large impact at the school, and not just in the students' physical health.

"We're always looking for ways to increase their activity level since the kids don't have PE everyday," she said. "But we've found that hula hoops can be used in the classroom too as learning tools, with games and art projects."

Recycling is a common theme shared between the company and school, officials said.

Ferguson, the country's largest supplier of plumbing supplies, has tried to be more environmentally friendly as a company and facility, Dejong said.

Waters said Hilda J. Barbour does a number of recycling projects, and it was nice to see a big company doing the same thing.

"It's a win-win situation," she said. "Ferguson got to use materials that would've been wasted, and it gets the kids moving."

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