Brendan Tevlin is remembered at a new playground in Lavallette

A new playground to memorialize the late Brendan Tevlin has been constructed on the Jersey Shore by New Jersey firefighters and volunteers.

Brendan’s Playground is now open for play in Lavallette, New Jersey, a short distance from Tevlin’s grandparents’ vacation house, where the Irish American spent most of his summers growing up.

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In July 2014, Tevlin was fatally shot in his car while at a stop light in West Orange, New Jersey when he was only 19 years old. Murderer Ali Muhammad Brown is now serving a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

"Brendan really touched a lot of lives,” said Brendan’s mother Allison. “He was just a really special person. All these people here; it’s amazing. It’s really a beautiful thing. It’s hard to put into words.”

Hundreds of people showed up to help construct Brendan’s playground, many of them part of the New Jersey Firefighters’ Mutual Benevolent Association (FMBA). Others included Brendan’s former classmates and teammates, as well as friends of the family.

Volunteers help build Brendan's Playground

Volunteers help build Brendan's Playground

“Brendan would spend the summers down here,” said Brendan’s father Mike of the Jersey Shore.

“He loved everything about Lavallette. He was a surfer. We’d spend most of our time on the beach. But as a kid, Brendan would spend his evenings down here at the playgrounds.”

The new playground was constructed through the Where Angels Play Foundation, which was founded by Bill Lavin, a close friend of Brendan’s grandfather Tom Tevlin. Both Lavin and Tevlin are retired firefighters and heavily involved with the FMBA.

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The Where Angels Play Foundation was organized in the wake of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy devastation and Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. It works to bring areas of joys and hope to communities that have experienced great loss.

Brendan’s Playground is the 49th playground the organization has built.

Playground nears completion (Where Angels Play Foundation / Facebook)

Playground nears completion (Where Angels Play Foundation / Facebook)

Lavin said, “This is our way of saying, ‘Hey, we love you.’ We have hundreds of firefighters from all over the state, and it’s our blessing to do it.”

“It really reflects his personality and it’s very personal,”  added Lavin. “It allows [the family] to come to a place for a holiday or a birthday, or maybe instead of going to church or to a monument, they go to a playground—a really happy place where kids are joyful.

Brendan's Playground (Where Angels Play Foundation / Facebook)

Brendan's Playground (Where Angels Play Foundation / Facebook)

“The idea is that Brendan will be watching over these children. It’s a gift from him.”

You can watch the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the opening of Brendan's Playground here, from Where Angels Play Foundation's Facebook page:

Brendan Tevlin Playground Ribbon Cutting 💙

Posted by Where Angels Play Foundation on Sunday, September 30, 2018