The Tampa Bay Buccaneer Cheerleaders rolled up their sleeves and got involved in the hard labor Friday afternoon
As the saying goes, Rome wasn't built in a day. The new playground at the Belmont Heights Boys and Girls Club – now that's another story, thanks to The Home Depot, Kaboom! and your very own Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At dawn, the lot by the Boys & Girls Club was a vacant expanse of sand and dirt, but by the end of the day it had had been transformed into a brand new, 36,000-square foot, state-of-the-art Tampa Bay Buccaneers play set.
The plans had been laid many months ago and the volunteers lined up in advance, but every bit of the playground's construction was accomplished between 8:15 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. on the same day. Seven hours to raise an entire playground from the ground up? Thanks to the schedule set by Kaboom!, the participation of over 250 Home Depot volunteers and the efforts of a rotating crew of Tampa Bay Buccaneer players and cheerleaders, the project was finished right on time.
As the day began at 8:00 a.m. the Home Depot volunteers descended upon the club to get their assignments for the day. A rigorous and exhausting day lay ahead for the volunteers, but they shared a universally positive attitude. Buccaneers DE Corey Smith and RB Travis Stephens arrived minutes later, representing the first of five shifts of Tampa Bay players.
The Buccaneer players were no figureheads. Both were immediately put to work, with Stephens drilling holes in wood planks to make picnic tables and Smith pounding nails to construct wooden benches. For nearly an hour, the two second-year players toiled and perspired with their fellow volunteers before finally taking a break to grab a bottle of water.
As the sun began to beat down more vigorously on the volunteers, the water, Gatorade and fresh bananas that were provided to the volunteers became hot commodities.
Smith and Stephens were soon joined by the next shift of Bucs, LS Ryan Benjamin and TE Todd Yoder. Since construction of the benches and picnic tables was nearly complete, the new arrivals decided to help erect a dual-slide playset.
The playset featured a straight slide on one side and a twisty slide on the other and the Home Depot volunteers needed assistance in clamping the pieces together in the correct locations. Thankfully, Benjamin and Yoder are rather robust individuals and they proved to be the perfect helping hands for this task.
"We just wanted to come out and help support Home Depot and Kaboom! and help build this playground for the Boys & Girls Club," said Yoder as he donned a Home Depot hard hat. "This is a great project we have going and hopefully we can use some of our muscle to help these guys out."
Benjamin and Yoder proved to be key factors in the assembly of that rather daunting piece of equipment, and with that project coming along nicely, the third wave of Buccaneer assistance came in to help.
Neighbors and co-volunteers S John Howell and T Roman Oben were the next two Tampa Bay players on the scene. As Howell and Oben arrived, so did a lunch break, thanks to Checkers.
Before the lunch break, however, the Home Depot volunteers gathered for a special cheer. The cheer consisted of four questions, asked by one of the group leaders and answered in unison by the mass of volunteers, with the volume increasing at each step.