Weekly Feature

2017-05-17 / Front Page

Community uniting to install new playground

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Associate Editor

Wilson Wilson The community is working together to improve the playground at Billy Wilson Park, named in honor of a town soldier who was killed in action a little more than five years ago.

The soldier’s parents, Kim and William, with the assistance of town officials, are leading a playground community build set for Saturday, June 10, at the park, located on Hopkins Road at Randwood Drive, south of Williamsville North High School.

A resident of Getzville, Billy Wilson, 27, was a squad leader assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 172nd Infantry Brigade headquartered in Grafenwoehr, Germany.

He died March 26, 2012, from gunshot wounds inflicted by an alleged member of the Afghan local police in Paktika province, Afghanistan. Wilson was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

In June 2013, the state Legislature approved a measure to rename a portion of Interstate 990 as the “Staff Sergeant William R. Wilson III Memorial Highway.”

Kim Wilson said efforts to rehabilitate the playground began in March 2014, just a few weeks after the Town Board renamed the park in her son’s honor.

“We’ve been very happy that the town let us be involved in the planning of everything,” she said.

The playground is a place where her son would go to play with friends, and Wilson said she is “honored to be part of the project.”

“Billy would go there and play a lot,” she said. “And it’s great because this playground is going to be built for all children, regardless of their abilities.”

She said town crews will be excavating the land at the playground location the week prior to the equipment’s installation. In addition, about a week after the community build, crews will install a rubber surface at the playground to make it safer and easier for children to walk.

According to Wilson, about 200 people are scheduled to assist at the community build event, and she said that everyone volunteering will be “well fed.”

Wilson said that as a way to thank all of the volunteers for donations of resources, time and labor, an ice cream social and dedication ceremony will be held at a later date.

“The whole thing is going to be a great event,” Wilson said. “It will definitely be something to remember.”

Wilson said that through a website, interested donors or volunteers may sign up to assist the cause with either food items or construction equipment.

Also on the site is a section to purchase memory trees or benches. Proceeds from the purchase will benefit the Billy Wilson Park Playground.

For further information about the community build or the assistance that may be needed, visit the website at www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4ba8af29a3f49-playground.

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