U.S. Air Force
By Christin Michaud
Donors, wing leaders and distinguished guests were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony of a new playground at the Fisher House for Families of the Fallen June 18 here.
The playground, dedicated to the children who travel to Dover Air Force Base, Del., to witness a dignified transfer of a loved one, was a result of teamwork, said Kim Landis, the Friends of the Fallen president.
A need for a playground was identified more than a year ago by the Friends of the Fallen, a volunteer, community-based nonprofit. The project came through a partnership with Charlie Walker of Liberty Parks and Playgrounds whose vision was to have the $30,000 project donated. Several companies in the community and across the nation teamed up to build the playground for the children of the fallen.
“Thank you so much for your donation of time, resources and material,” said Col. Mark Camerer, the 436th Airlift Wing commander.
“It’s important to be here to dedicate this playground,” said Camerer. “How a nation treats their fallen says a lot about the character of the nation. It is my hope and my prayer that somehow this playground will offer a moment of solace, a respite, from what the families are here to do.”
Col. John M. Devillier, the Air Force Mortuary Affairs Operations commander, thanked the members of the Friends of the Fallen for what they have done to make the playground a reality.
“If this beautiful playground can provide a little bit of normalcy and a little bit of comfort in a challenging moment, it’s worth the time, worth the effort and the resources,” Devillier said.
He thanked the donors once again, adding, “This will be an enduring legacy that you can be proud of at Dover Air Force Base.”
Suzie Schwartz, the wife of Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz, spoke at the event and attributed the opening of the playground to the dedication of military spouses and to “the generosity of the American people.”
“This comes about from those of us willing to say … ‘let’s figure out how to do it better,’” she said.