Surprise gift of 1,800 books arrives at Garyville/Mt. Airy

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 15, 2006


Staff Reporter

GARYVILLE – The students at Garyville/Mt Airy Magnet School received an unexpected gift Tuesday in the form of over 1,800 donated books.

William Dannheim, who everyone refers to as ‘Mr. Bill”, is a custodian at Oxford Valley Elementary in Pa., who wanted to do something nice for the kids in Louisiana.

Dannheim met with Greta Anderson, a teacher from the St. John Redirection Center, about the prospect of sending the books to some of her students.

Anderson felt the books might be more suitable for the younger children at Garyville/Mt. Airy and put him in touch with Erin Schubmehl, a second-grade teacher at the magnet school.

One of the day cleaners who works with Dannheim at Oxford Valley managed to transform one of their trash cans into an upside-down Dr. Seuss hat which is what they used to collect any books the children could donate.

&#8220With the hurricane, I figured it would be a nice thing to collect and send something down in the way of books,” Dannheim said. Not even the teachers at Garyville/Mt Airy were expecting the amount Dannheim had brought, however.

&#8220We had no idea the scale of it until he got here,” Schubmehl said. &#8220The last we had corresponded it was around a thousand books.”

Dannheim originally intended to mail the books but found it was rather expensive and difficult to ship 1,800 books so he decided to drive from Pennsylvania and deliver them himself.

Dannheim was met with a very warm welcome from everyone at Garyville/Mt Airy and even Superintendent Michael Coburn showed up to congratulate Dannheim on his selfless efforts.

&#8220Mr. Bill, we can’t thank you enough. God bless you for your efforts,” Coburn said. &#8220We’re doing much better now then we were in August, but we were blessed.”

Dannheim was taken aback by the hospitality he received during his short stay in St. John Parish, and hopes to return.

&#8220It’s amazing how good the people around here have treated me,” Dannheim said. &#8220I didn’t expect to meet the superintendent.”