Hundreds of volunteers, including veterans, Disney employees, build playground in Anaheim

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Saturday, September 28, 2019
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Hundreds of volunteers, including a number of U.S. veterans, joined together Friday to build a playground in Anahiem.

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- In just six hours, 300 volunteers from Disneyland Resort, the city of Anaheim and the Anaheim family YMCA joined the nonprofit Kaboom to build a playground in Anaheim's Julianna Park on Friday. It's part of a commitment ABC7's parent company, the Walt Disney Company, has made to Anaheim.

For Nick Filippone, a Navy veteran who works at Disneyland, service comes naturally.

"Community serving and serving people is what we do. Our sense of duty and our sense of pride in ensuring that people we support are safe either from foreign influence or ensuring that Disney as a company wants to make sure our community is the best place they can live," said Filippone.

Filippone praises Salute, Disney's business-employee resource group that supports veterans as they transition to civilian life.

"For the first 13 years of my Disney career without any issue at all, I was able to make sure i could meet all my Navy Reserve commitments while at the same time continue my successful employment at the resort," said Filippone.

This is the 12th Kaboom playground in Anaheim that Disney has sponsored, but the first where some of the volunteers include a large group of veterans and their families who work at Disneyland resort. Kim Sims, a security guard at Disneyland, knows all about military service. Her brother served 20 years in the U.S. Army.

"Family is as much as part of military as the person serving and with my brother doing that for 20 years, I've had the opportunity to know what it's like, to feel what it's like when your brother goes away to assignments and war and wherever he happened to be assigned. So I like to have the families come out," said Sims.

The playground will provide more than 1,500 kids in Anaheim with a safe place to play.

"Building playgrounds is as important as building buildings and all the other things we do. Children need to play," said Sims.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7.