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AMERIGROUP Foundation Supports Groundbreaking on Grommet Island Park for People With Disabilities

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Oct. 4, 2009 /PRNewswire/ -- The AMERIGROUP Foundation teamed up with the ALS Association today in support of a 4K walk, groundbreaking and beach party to benefit the Grommet Island park project - a first of its kind, 100 percent handicap-accessible oceanfront destination - in Virginia Beach.

During the walk, volunteers on behalf of the Foundation joined with other local leaders and officially 'broke ground' on the 15,000-square-foot project born out of inaccessibility to the beach for those with disabilities and noted by Virginia Beach native Josh Thompson (JT). Thompson suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), and his family decided to do something about the lack of beach access for those like him. With the help of friends and community partners such as AMERIGROUP, JT's Grommet Island Beach Park was born. Located just off the Boardwalk (between 1st and 2nd Streets), the project will feature a park and cutting edge play structure with 'all-ability-friendly' equipment.

"Imagine a park where children and adults with disabilities have the 'ability' to experience the sun, sand and surf just as those without disabilities do. That is the vision behind JT's Grommet Island Park and Playground for EveryBODY," said John E. Littel, Chairman of the AMERIGROUP Foundation.

The AMERIGROUP Foundation donated $100,000 to assist in the construction of the Oceanside Park and for the ALS Association. Proceeds raised from today's walk will also go toward the project, which is scheduled for completion in 2010.

"From the beginning, AMERIGROUP has really gotten behind this project, and we are thrilled by their support," said Bruce Thompson, Josh's father, who is spearheading the efforts for the park. "This is an innovative collaboration, and one that helps so many communities, from those with disabilities to people in Hampton Roads and beyond. We certainly didn't have to convince AMERIGROUP of the benefits, and we appreciate their integral role here."

To learn more about the park, visit:

About the AMERIGROUP Foundation

The AMERIGROUP Foundation is the philanthropic arm of AMERIGROUP Corporation, a multi-state managed healthcare company based in Virginia Beach, VA. The Foundation works to create healthy communities by fostering access to healthcare, encouraging safe and healthy children and families, and promoting community improvement and healthy neighborhoods. For more information about the AMERIGROUP Foundation, visit:

About the ALS Association

The ALS Association is leading in the fight to treat and cure ALS through global, cutting edge research, and empowering people with Lou Gehrig's disease and their families to live fuller lives by providing them with compassionate care and support.

For more information about ALS, visit:

    Tara Wall
    (757) 518-3671


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