Volunteers build playground in 1 day to honor member of Mt. Calvary church in Detroit who died

DETROIT – The kids at the Head Start program at Detroit’s Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church were using a parking lot as their playground, but they now have a new place to play.

Funeral services were held at the east side church Friday for member Al Vietzke. The playground was his vision.

To honor Vietzke’s vision, volunteers from Walled Lake Northern High School turned grant money and two $100 Detroit Land Bank lots into a playground in one day.

Members of the congregation filled out the paperwork for the grants, and a team came together Saturday to make a safe place for kids to play.

The area around the church only has 25 percent occupancy.

“It’s [the church] one of the few things in the area that’s really a center for people to gather,” pastor John Carrier said.

Once the concrete dries, it will be ready to be used Sunday.

“My heart is broken and I will never be the same without my dad. This helps knowing that something he was so passionate about is coming to life," Vietzke's daughter, Bonnie Gammerath, said.

Next spring, the church will be doing “Camp Restore Detroit.” The church will be turned into dorm rooms for youth volunteers who do service work in the city.

For more information on Mt. Calvary, visit mtcalvarydetroit.org.

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About the Authors:

Local 4 Defender Shawn Ley is an Emmy award-winning journalist who has been with Local 4 News for more than a decade.