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Packers and Humana team up to build playground in De Pere

Posted Sep 5, 2012

By Jessica Bedore, Packers public relations/corporate communications intern

Packers employees teamed up with Humana associates on Tuesday to assemble a welcomed addition to Southwest Park in De Pere. Beginning at 9 a.m., a crew of more than 30 people worked diligently to put together a playground, purchased from Minnesota/Wisconsin Playground, with the goal to keep kids in the De Pere community active and fit.

"Humana is very excited to be partnering with the Packers on this exciting playground donation and build,” said Jerry Ganoni, president of Humana’s small business and specialty benefits companies. “As one of the largest employers in Brown County, Humana has a vested interest in helping the community where we live and serve. We thank the Packers for helping to make this playground possible, and we hope that it brings joy to the community here for decades to come."

Several Packers players were also on hand to help assemble the playground.

“For me, this is a chance to come back and support the community and the people of De Pere,” Packers tackle and playground build helper Marshall Newhouse said. “There’s a lot of development going on and you can tell that the people in this community want to help and add something to this park. I’m sure a lot of kids around here will enjoy it and use it a whole lot. That’s really the goal of it. We hope to just get kids fit and active and to come out here and help somebody.”

The Packers have a history of building playgrounds for the Green Bay and surrounding communities. In recent years, the organization helped build a handful of playgrounds to support active play in Northeast Wisconsin. Packers guard T.J. Lang has participated in a number of those playgrounds builds.

“This is actually my third or fourth time working with (community organizations) to build these playgrounds,” Lang said. “We’ve built them all over Green Bay and De Pere. It’s just really fun to spend a day off and come out here to help put up a playground. I know all the kids around here will really enjoy it.”

Throughout the day, Lang and Newhouse, along with fellow players James Jones and Jerel Worthy, worked to assemble the playground, pour concrete and spread woodchips at the site. Just as it is on the field, each player has their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to manual labor, Lang said.

“Well, I just carry around the big stuff,” Lang said. “I’m not too good really with putting nuts and bolts together.”

While the Packers have worked on several playground builds, this was the first build for Packers partner Humana. Dennis Grusnick, vice president of IT at Humana, says he is glad to be part of a project that encourages healthy kids.

“We’re happy to partner with the Packers to make a difference and give back to the community,” Grusnick said. “It’s for the kids. It’s really to help them get that fitness and to help them get healthy. That’s what Humana is always looking for—to get our kids healthy.”

For pictures from the playground build, click here.

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