It was a beautiful Saturday. My children jumped
on the trampoline in our backyard and swung on the swings of the ancient play set
and rode their bicycles through the grass. Their voices carried into the yards of
neighbors as they played catch and chased the dog.
A mile from here, many of the yards, yards where children played
last summer and early last fall, are still empty, as my neighboring town of Union
Beach, New Jersey was one of the hardest hit towns in the state by Hurricane
Sandy. Blocks of homes were wiped out,
if not flooded to the point that they were forced to rebuild the entire first
Many families walked away from their homes, as the money for
the repairs would be higher than the value of the house itself.
112 miles from here, lived 20 children who will never play
in a back yard again, they will never ride a
bicycle or jump on a trampoline. These are the children who died in the
Sandy Hook Elementary school tragedy on December 14th.
A local nonprofit called the RAINE Foundation has
partnered with the New Jersey Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA)
to create The Sandy Ground 26, Where Angels Play. RAINE has worked tirelessly to help restore
areas of the Jersey shore affected by Sandy, and they have purchased one of the
26 playgrounds which will be built in honor of the 26 victims of the Newtown tragedy. Aptly, they have chosen Fireman’s Park, in
storm ravaged Union Beach as their site.
Fireman’s Park in Union Beach will
memorialize Jack Pinto, a six year old boy and avid Giant’s fan, who was buried
in Victor Cruz’s jersey.
Cruz etched the above onto his cleats when the Giants played that Atlanta Falcons shortly after the shootings.
RAINE is currently on a mission to get Victor
Cruz to attend the Groundbreaking and Dedication
ceremonies for The Sandy Ground 26 playground project on April 5th. They have recently begun a Twitter campaign to
try to get Cruz’s attention.
If you have a Twitter account or know someone who does, will
you copy and paste the text below and tweet the heck out of it the next few
#RAINE is building a playground in memory of Jack Pinto in Union Beach NJ. Join
us for groundbreaking?http://rainefoundation.com/2013/03/the-sandy-ground-help-needed-saturday
A tweet is a tweet.
It will never rebuild those houses that were washed into the Raritan Bay
and it will never bring those children back.
Yet, it’s a small but meaningful “something” we can do to honor Jack
That, and go to the nearest park with your children and love
the hell out of a Saturday afternoon.
Thank you. xo