Pottsville, Schuylkill County -- Hundreds of people filled Bunker Hill playground at Pierce Street and Schuylkill Avenue in Pottsville for an emotional Sunday evening that many will never forget. A relative of the Brown family fought through tears to recite a poem during a playground dedication ceremony.The Brown family suffered a great tragedy in May when a Mother's Day fire claimed the lives of four children, their father and an aunt. "Hearing about the tragedy I felt you know bad for the community and the families that lost their loved ones," said organizer Michelle Yarnell. She and others decided to turn the sorrow into something positive. They held fundraisers and rallied the community to spuce-up the playground. "Volunteers from all over came out and helped build the memorial garden and we placed that a few weeks ago and we've been doing painting and we placed benches and tables with the kids' favorite colors."
Stones also featured each of the Brown children's names with their favorite toys embedded in each slab. Also memorialized at this park are Nikolai and Edward Santai. The two young brothers were killed in a 1993 Pottsville fire. Their father Edward Santai said, "I'm just overwhelmed and I appreciate everything that everbody's done for this playground and the remembrance of the children." The young brothers' aunt Theresa Santai-Gaffney added, "This is just wonderful. It really is. And in this memory our children will always be alive through other children of our county."
With two snips of a ribbon, the improved Bunker Hill Playground was officially dedicated. Children who will play here released balloons with messages floating toward the heavens to the young souls lost who now will never be forgotten.