- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 1, 2001

Don't be surprised if one of the 500 children who live in the Jetu Apartments grows up to be the next Mario Andretti or A.J. Foyt., thanks to a new racing-themed playground volunteers built yesterday on the grounds at the Northeast complex.
An estimated 200 volunteers, including former Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and race-car driver Tony Stewart, turned out to construct two playsites one for toddlers ages 2 to 5 and one for 5- to 12-year-olds. The playgrounds have a NASCAR-racing theme with yellow, red, blue and purple flags and other graphics designed by playground equipment suppliers Playworld Systems.
Jetu Apartments resident Vander Barfield, a mother of two young girls, said the playground at 869 21st St. will provide the children with a closer place to play and gives parents a place to take their children so they are not sitting in front of the television all day.
Mr. Gibbs, who owns the No. 20 Home Depot NASCAR car driven by Mr. Stewart, helped mix concrete and put in the NASCAR-themed flags between signing autographs on everything from T-shirts to aprons for many of the volunteers and children in the neighborhood.
Mr. Stewart, who has raced in the Indianapolis 500, also poured concrete and helped carry the heavy beams and slides.
The two Home Depot celebrity spokesmen were joined by dozens of employees of the building store chain, which sponsored the project with Kaboom, a nonprofit organization that has helped build dozens of similar projects around the country.
Keith Mims, a youngster making a racing car at one of the activities stations set up for the children, said he was excited about the playground.
The construction started at 8:30 a.m. and was finished by 3:30 with a board-cutting ceremony.
Felicia Gant, director of training for the mid-Atlantic division of Home Depot, came from South Plainfield, N.J., to help build the playground. "The best part is seeing everything after you build it," she said.

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