‘Mattie’ honored as Virtue CPC couple donate playground

Children from Virtue Cumberland Presbyterian Church and around the community have a new playground through the generosity of a VCPC couple, Terry and Pam Kerbs of Farragut, in honor of their special-needs son, Matthew “Mattie” Kerbs.

“We feel pretty good (about the playground),” said Terry, an elder with VCPC. “It’s something we wanted to do for the church.”

Now completed, the playground will be dedicated at noon, Sunday, April 16, on church grounds, 725 Virtue Road, which is open to the community.

“We’re hoping, maybe, getting this information out may bring some people over,” Terry said.

“We just wanted to do something for our church,” Pam said about the Kerbs donating the $35,000 playground.

She added the idea for the playground started in December 2021, noting it is open to “anyone who wants to go over there and play on it.”

She said Cory Dickson made the arrangements for the plaques and media for the dedication.

“We met Cory in 1998,” Pam said. “She wanted to use her company, Dickson Media, to coordinate everything for this event.”

”Cory is Matt’s legal guardian,” Terry said. “So, when Pam and I are gone, Cory and another lady take over (care of Mattie).”

“I have know the Kerbs family for over 20 years,” Dickson said. “I met Matt at WIVK and we worked together in the promotions department for several years.

“We became fast friends, and Terry and Pam are just so wonderful. It was so easy to connect and love them,” she added. “The Kerbs family is so giving, and this playground they have built provides the kids a place to have fun and encourages their imagination outdoors. I am honored to help spread the word about this wonderful playground.”

“The previous playground was dilapidated at best,” Pam recalled. “We wanted a new one with a wheelchair-accessibility so handicap children could come over there and play.”

“You just roll your wheelchair right into it, and it has a little gate on the back and swing away,” she added.

“We have a young lady who is in a wheelchair at our church,” Terry said. “And, we have a home-schooled group that comes every Tuesday with around 100 students, so they have an opportunity to play on it, and there’re four brand-new swings as well.

“We just wanted to invest in our church,” he said. “Small churches really struggle.”

“Additionally, “we were hoping that this might help with younger membership,” Terry added. “And, with that, we wanted to dedicate it to our handicapped son, Matthew.”

Now 45, Matthew was born Feb. 10, 1978, with hydrocephalus.

The Kerbs explained he had a stroked while Pam was pregnant with him. Pam explained the stroke caused part of his brain to die.

“But he lives by himself and manages quite well,” Pam said of Matt.

“He’s worked at Parkwest Hospital for over 15 years,” Terry added.

“And, he worked at WIVK radio station, where he met Cory, since 1998 and worked there 10 years,” Pam said. “Then he worked at the UPS Store for five years.

Still, “he cannot drive because he is vision impaired — he is legally blind — but he wears glasses and he does fine,” she said.

Pam said Matt is very excited about the playground.

“He said he hopes that many children for many years to come can come to his playground and have good memories,” she added.