A Favor

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
.  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.

Jack PInto

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

Hey @TeamVic
#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




A Favor — 22 Comments

  1. I just did it and will continue to do what I can. It brought a tear to my eye when I read that that the little boy was buried in his jersey and then he wrote that on his shoes. The shooting still grips my heart.

  2. I can’t think about Sandy Hook without my heart actually clenching. It’s a small gesture in the scheme of things, but what a beautiful way to memorialize that little boy – and second to that, it would be a lovely morale booster for Union Beach NJ, which was demolished by the storm. I would love for them to have Victor Cruz for an hour on April 5th. Thank you so much for tweeting this! xo

  3. Couldn’t do it quickly enough. Victor Cruz was so humbled and touched by this boy’s devotion to him. I remember reading the game story after the Giants played the Falcons, and it told of how Cruz wanted so badly to score in Jack’s honor.
    I will definitely enjoy the hell out of a park on a Saturday afternoon. And I will be wholeheartedly grateful the next time my kids don’t listen or destroy something or make a huge mess, simply because they’re here to do it.

  4. I’d like to believe that Cruz would go to the groundbreaking if he could. He seemed genuinely concerned and humbled in all of the press.
    I am extremely grateful for the bloggers who joined me in this attempt – and am also grateful for every Saturday afternoon at the park with my kids and look forward to playing in Jack Pinto’s park with them this spring…although saddened that there has to be a park built in memory of any child taken too soon.

  5. As I said about, I am saddened that there has to be a park built in memory of any child taken too soon yet a place for kids to play and have fun and be kids is a lovely way to honor his memory…although better to not have to honor the memory of a child at all. It’s just unthinkable. Thank you so much for helping me with this effort! xo

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