RYE — The excitement shown on 5-year-old Kevin Nievesmassol’s face and that of his 3-year-old brother, Connor, told the whole story.
Together they enjoyed the new playground, which included a swing set and playhouse, in the backyard at his home near this mountain community, courtesy of the Kids Wish Network.
Little Kevin, who was born with Moebius Syndrome, a rare congenital disorder that makes it difficult for the facial muscles to move, was chosen as a “Wish Kid” and given a choice of gifts from the network.
Kevin has low muscle tone and is unable to speak or walk, so he made his choice from a picture book, opting for the playground equipment over such options as a trip to the beach, a cruise or even a hot tub.
“It is hard to explain,” his father, Carlos Nievesmassol, said of his son’s selection. “He chose this swing set but can’t walk yet, so it’s something that will be there for life for him.”
Once Kevin made his choice, Kids Wish, which is based in Florida, used several resources in Colorado to carry out the project.
Backyard Adventures Colorado donated the entire playground, which is complete with the playhouse, swing set and monkey bars.
Members of American Legion Young Guns, Post 115 in Rye, volunteered to install the equipment.
Scott Sexton, commander of Post 115, rallied troops and brought along George McGoff, post adjutant, Jerry McClure, senior vice-commander and members Ron Rybicki, and Mike Davis to help out.
“Kevin has had a rough life, but hopefully we brought great joy to him today,” said Sexton, who emphasized that helping youth is one of the four pillars of the American Legion values.
McGoff said, “It was a day well spent. Our post has never done anything like this, so when we got here, it was nice to see Kevin and Connor so excited.”
“Kevin has known it is a special day for him, and we love to see him happy,” the youngster’s parents, Kacie and Carlos Nievesmassol, said of their son who requires occupational, speech and physical therapy.