On Tuesday, October 18, United Way partnered with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Marvin Lewis Community Fund for the annual Hometown Huddle project. This year’s project took place at Ryan Memorial Sports Complex in Westwood.
Bengals players and community volunteers gathered on a beautiful day to install a new state-of-the-art Challenge Course—the first in the state of Ohio. The Challenge Course allows you to compete against yourself or friends as you move through the fitness equipment working against the clock. An electronic timing board displays results at the end of the course.
Additionally, a new playground and outdoor fitness equipment were constructed, and improvements were made upon an existing basketball court and garden to nearby Gamble Montessori school. Aesthetic improvements included hand painted park benches and landscaping including trees and flowers being added to the property.
“I have a great time giving back and having all of the teammates out here just trying to give the kids in the community something to play with — a nice playground — to come out here with their family and friends and enjoy themselves," said Bengals defensive tackle Domata Peko. "That’s what life’s about. It’s not about ourselves, it’s about giving back and helping out others. I always like to build the playgrounds whenever I come out here because I’m just like a big kid too. The cool part about it is last year I took my two older kids to the playgrounds we built a few years back, and I showed them my nameplate and told them ‘Daddy helped build this,’ and it’s pretty cool to tell your kids that.”
UWGC president Rob Reifsnyder and Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis thanked all of the volunteers and supporters during a short program in between the morning and afternoon sessions. Tuesdays are typically a day off for NFL players, but the Bengals were more than willing to give up their time to get out and make a difference in the lives of local children.