ARLINGTON, Texas – It was a feat deserving of a mayoral proclamation, and it got one.
More than 200 volunteers from Dr Pepper Snapple Group, the Dallas Cowboys, The Salvation Army, KaBOOM! and the Arlington community joined together Tuesday to build a playground at The Salvation Army.
That accomplishment is great in its own right, but these volunteers managed to assemble the brand new playground in less than one day, putting new equipment where before there had been nothing.
"On behalf of the entire Dallas Cowboys and the Jones family, we want to thank all of you who volunteered today for being out here and putting up this playground in record speed," said Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson. "Special thanks to Kaboom! and Dr. Pepper Snapple for making this happen."
The initiative was part of Let's Play, a community partnership led by Dr Pepper Snapple Group to get kids and families active nationwide. The first Let's Play initiative is a $15 million, three-year commitment to KaBOOM! to build or fix up 2,000 playgrounds by the end of 2013, benefiting an estimated five million children across North America.
The project was enough to earn a proclamation from Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck, who declared Oct. 1, 2013 as "Let's Play Day."
Cluck said the initiative was important, as only one out of five children in the United States lives within walking distance of a park or playground.
Several Cowboys players – Sean Lee, DeMarcus Ware, Phillip Tanner, Kyle Wilber, Caesar Rayford, J.J. Wilcox, B.W. Webb, DeVonte Holloman and Jeff Heath -- came out to help the volunteers finish construction.
"Having the opportunity to give back to the community – we get so much support from the community of Dallas and Arlington. Whenever we have a shot to come out and give back, we need to take advantage of it," Lee said.
The playground also serves as another step in completing Arlington's Youth Education Town, an effort started when the city hosted Super Bowl XLV that is set to open in the next two weeks.
"I'm counting the days now, until we get this open. The way I'm counting it's 12 days before we open the doors and start doing the work that we're all ready to do," Cluck said. "This has been huge. I want to thank the Jones family – everybody who is standing here. It has been such an inspiration for me to see what has happened."
Added Jones: "The YET – the Youth Education Town – has been a vision for this area since the Super Bowl came here. And there's been a lot of planning, a lot of effort on behalf of a lot of people to make this happen, and this is certainly a very important part of this project. All the way from the mayor to the city council to all of our state representatives, everyone has really been instrumental in making this come to fruition today. We want to thank you for your sweat, labor, and we want to thank everybody for your support of The Salvation Army and your support of this program."