CHRISTMAS, Fla. — It’s a day to raise the beams to help out the kids of Christmas.
Ironworkers Local 808 are volunteering. They’re building a steel canopy over the basketball court at Redemption Church. Union business manager Bobby Knost is leading the effort to cover the court.
“They have a pretty large community of young people out here, and there’s not a lot to do. There’s no sidewalks out here. It’s more rural. So, it’s good to have this for these guys,” Knost said.
The pastor of Redemption Church, JD Simmons, said youths from all over the area use the court.
“Every week, there were kids — they couldn’t wait to get here and pick up a basketball,” Simmons said.
The problem is the Florida weather can make it uncomfortable, and even dangerous, to play.
The new 75 X 75 foot canopy will give them shelter during the rain or afternoon sun and heat.
“Our goal was to get shade for them to be able to play when it was real hot,” Simmons said.
More than 20 union workers showed up on their day off to help out.
“It’s in our heart to do it, and I think it’s a great thing to do," Knost said. "It’s good for the community and it teaches these young folks about hard work. So, everything about it is a win.”
The Ironworkers Local 808 have had good fortune. They’ve been busy on big jobs all over Central Florida. Volunteering on several projects a year is their way of giving back.
“The payment is the feeling and just knowing that you did something and getting to see these kids enjoy it,” Knost said.
The ironworkers are dedicating the canopy to one of their own. Miguel Crespo II died in a car crash on I-4 in January. They’re hanging a plaque on the canopy in his honor.
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