Where Angels Play

PlaygroundJoy to the World – we hear this favorite carol so often this season. But one group of fire fighters has actually chosen to BRING joy to the world – or at least, to a little piece of it.

New Jersey fire fighters and other first responders were a big part of the rescue and cleanup efforts when Super Storm Sandy hit the New Jersey and Long Island area in the fall of 2013. And as that community was struggling to recover, another tragedy hit close to home when 26 children and their teachers were struck at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Often times when tragedy strikes, communities and individuals come together in unimaginable ways. New Jersey Firefighter Bill Lavin responded by finding a way to bring joy back to his own part of the world. Working with his brothers in the The New Jersey State Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association, they committed to build playgrounds across the areas devastated by the storm, each dedicated to and named after a life lost at Sandy Hook.

Two years and thousands of volunteer hours later, 26 brand new playgrounds dot the east coast from Hartford to Atlantic City. Bright colors, new toys and tributes to each child are hallmarks of the playgrounds – as is the laughter and joy of the kids who now play there. It’s all thanks to the vision of one firefighter who saw an opportunity to bring joy, and put his dream into action.

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