SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Later this week, the American Red Cross of Western Massachusetts will honor Vicky Martins Auffrey as a Hometown Hero.
During a recent visit to Jessica’s boundless playground, Vicky recalled for 22News Reporter Sy Becker the day the landmark playground opened last fall.
“We had hundreds of people show up, and we had eight different people using a wheel chair and that just really warmed my heart. For some of the children it was the first time they had ever been on a swing,” Vicky said.
Vicky led the fund drive to build the boundless playground in memory of her daughter Jessica. She died five year’s before the playground’s completion. Jessica had lived most of her young life in a wheelchair
Recently parents, disabled children, and young adults gathered to honor the Hometown Hero who had improved the quality of their lives. Ken Henneman spoke to 22News about his daughter Katie, who is in a wheelchair. He said, “She can go around; she can go on the swing over there, back and forth with the wheelchair. Then she can go all the way up the ramp.”
Parents and their disabled children eagerly await the warmer weather when Jessica’s boundless playground can start its first full season of serving the community as Jessica Martins’ legacy.
Adults using wheelchairs, they can come here, and utilize every piece of equipment. Children can for years and years to come; this will make a difference in many, many people’s lives,” Vicky said.
On the morning of March 19th at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield the Red Cross will honor Vicky Martins Auffrey and the six other Hometown Heroes.
Other Hometown Heroes: