“Dream” playground in honor of fallen soldier becomes a reality

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – An Army Staff Sergeant killed in action is being remembered today as volunteers build a new playground in Amherst park in his honor.

Billy Wilson III was killed in Afghanistan in 2012. Kim and Bill Wilson put the final screws into a sign that reads “Billy Wilson Park,” Saturday.

Kim Wilson said, “He would really enjoy seeing this for all these kids.”

Their son was killed in 2012 overseas, and by the end of the day, the 8,000-square-foot playground in his honor will be complete, thanks to the 200 volunteers.

Kim Wilson said, “It’s emotional for us. W just love everything they’ve done for us.”

While they are hard at work, many carry memories of the solider they lost.

Brian Gugino, a long-time friend of Billy Wilson said, “It’s not just a park anymore. It means something to me, and hopefully a lot of people. Billy had the opportunity to touch a lot of people, when we come here, we will think of him.”

The playground was designed to be inclusive of all kids, including those on the autism spectrum and those in a wheelchair. Kim Wilson said, “Every child will be able to play on this playground.”

Fundraising efforts over the years have made this park possible. It’s a plan that’s been years in the making. Bill Wilson said, “It’s been about 4 years, and the town asked if they could name the park after Billy, and at the town board meeting, it was unanimous and passed.”

The playground is anticipated to open in the last week of June, after the rubber surface is applied and a safety inspection is conducted.

Kim Wilson said, “It’s nice to see something that you talk about, actually happening.”

And for Kim and Bill, it’s also nice to have the support of the community who have helped to make this happen. “We just live in a great community, that has been with us since the day we lost Billy, they really have supported us, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”

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