FALLSTON, Md. - Annie’s Playground in Fallston was built to honor 6-year-old Annie Cumpston after the was killed by a hit and run driver back in 2003. Now the popular Harford County play place also pays tribute to another local person who tragically lost his life.
Turning something painful into something practical. Dozens of family, friends and community members gathered at Annie's Playground to unveil the latest piece to play on. The firetruck made out of plastic and metal sits right near the entrance to the park, in memory of Kurt Chenowith.
"He was a member of the Fallston Volunteer Fire Department and he later became a career firefighter with the Baltimore County Fire Department and was stationed in Towson on engine 101," said Kim Oliver with the Kurt M Chenowith Memorial Foundation.
"He made the absolute most of his 7-year career in the Baltimore County Fire Department,” Baltimore County Fire Department Assistant Chief Kyrle Preis added. “He held four different positions in those years, spending all his time assigned to the Towson fire station"
The 25-year-old died in 2011 after a motorcycle accident. A committee formed in his honor spent about a year raising more than $20,000 and hooking up with Little Tikes to have the project built. Tuesday’s ceremony was a bright spot for loved ones.
"It's awesome, so proud,” smiled Kurt’s Father Mahlon Chenowith. “Everybody's worked hard and it's great, Kurt would love it."
It's a legacy no one could have predicted, but one that truly embodies who Kurt was.
"Kurt loved children and he volunteered his time at Kennedy Krieger, he also loved being a firefighter," shared Kim Oliver, Kurt’s cousin.
"He was an outdoorsman, he loved that, he loved education, he was studying for a law degree, but most of all he really wanted to give back to his community," Kurt’s Uncle Patrick Kelly said.
Now this permanent reminder will give back for years to come. Adding to a playground that is already a lasting memory for Annie's family.
"Understand that life is precious, you just don't know what could ever come from day to day,” said Tom Cumpston. “And to come there with your family and spend some time is what it's all about."
The new playground equipment is just one way organizers are paying tribute to Kurt. This spring four $1,000 scholarships were given to local high school seniors in his name.