Pastor Dan Kelly, of Second Chance Bible Church in Bethel, has been building playgrounds for a while now -- ever since 2006, when he came away from a church volunteer opportunity feeling like he could have done more.
"Years ago, I took a mission trip and didn't think we accomplished anything," he said. Then a colleague at another Christian mission organization asked him, "Why not build playgrounds?"
The Tilt-a-World ministry was born. They've been to Panama, Romania and Haiti in the past. His most recent trip took him and other missionaries to Uganda, where they built a playground dedicated to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. He would have loved to put in a playground at Chalk Hill School in Monroe, he says.
"But we didn't want to put nose into Sandy Hook's business," he says. "We build wooden playgrounds -- I'm sure they're going to get something state of the art."
The tribute in Uganda is a good alternative, he says -- but it's just a start. Because Kelly doesn't plan to give up on this.
"I'm so afraid [the Sandy Hook shooting] is going to be like 9/11," he says. "We're going to go on with our business and forget. People in Sandy Hook will never forget, but life goes on like everywhere. I just want their memory to never fade. So I'm going to commit to build these."
It's not just to keep building playgrounds. It's to keep building playgrounds to remember Sandy Hook -- from here on out, as long as Tilt-a-World ministry stands.
While Home Depot and Framingham, MA-based Creative Playthings contribute the hardware, Tilt-a-World uses wood for its playgrounds from around the area -- in this case, a combination of woods like mahogany and cedar alongside mvule, an extra-sturdy African wood.
"This is probably one of the best built playgrounds," says Kelly.