Work will begin in September on refurbishing a Maryland playground soon to be renamed in honor of the members of the Gemmell family who died after a plane’s wing crashed into their home in December 2014.
Bill Lavin, founder of Where Angels Play, the company in charge of the project, said Ken Gemmell reached out to to his company to honor his wife, Marie, and his two sons, Cole and Devin.
The three family members died of smoke inhalation Dec. 8, 2014, after a jet crashed next to their home and the wing filled with jet fuel hit their house, setting it on fire. The jet clipped a tree and landed in the driveway of the neighboring home, killing all three onboard, as it attempted to land at Gaithersburg Airpark. The Gemmell family dog also perished.
Ken and his daughter, Arrabelle, were not home at the time. Arabelle will be the on-site supervisor for the refurbishment project, according to Lavin.
Where Angels Play has constructed 49 playgrounds across the United States, Canada and Rwanda in communities that have been struck by tragedy. It began in 2013 with the Sandy Ground Project, a series of playgrounds built in honor of each of the victims in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
The playground is adjacent to Griffith Park in Gaithersburg. Lavin said it will be designed for children 2-5 years old. Gemmell’s sons, Devin and Cole, were 7 weeks and 3 years old, respectively, when they died.