Playground honoring brothers constructed in South Lido Beach

- South Lido Beach holds a special place in the hearts of Robert and Maribeth Ditmars. 

"This park the kids just love," said Robert.

It's a fitting location for a tribute to their two sons. 

A team of friends, family, and strangers joined together. They worked to construct a new playground in honor of Christopher Ditmars who died of Leukemia in 2001 and 21-year-old Jarrod Ditmars who died after a spear fishing accident in 2015. 

"Every mom wants her children to make the world a better place. They're giving us that opportunity to make it happen," said Maribeth.

Bill Lavin's foundation, Where Angels Play, works across the globe helping families turn tragedy into recovery by creating joyful places for children to play. 

"We are always guided. We look for the signs and we go basically where the angels tell us to go," he said. 

It's the 48th playground constructed. 

The foundation was started after the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Lavin constructed 26 playgrounds to remember those killed. 

"It' a joyful place a place where they can go on a birthday or a holiday and feel that their child or angel is still here with us," he said. 

The playground will contain family artwork and two favorite quotes from Christopher and Jarrod. 

"We will come here a lot. By sitting here at the park bench, looking at all the children play, knowing that it was the result of a tragedy we had to endure, will be so healing for us. This is what we need," said Robert. 

For the Ditmars, their healing continues, but the playground provides happiness and a break from the grief they continue to carry. 

"I like to say laughter and tears are sometimes only a moment apart but joy is eternal and this is going to be an eternal gift to the community," said Maribeth. 

A ribbon cutting will be held Saturday at 11 a.m at South Lido Beach. 

For more information on Where Angels Play, visit

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