Napa 92-Year-Old Helps Build 73rd Playground

92 is an age when some people might be tempted to look back on their lives and wonder what kind of legacy they will one day leave.

If Jim Roberts of Napa ever allows himself the time to do just that, playfulness will certainly be a part of his legacy.

This past weekend, Roberts, along with fellow members of the Kiwanis Club of Napa, participated in the construction of a playground. It’s not Robert’s first time. Nor is it his 50th.

“73. 73 playgrounds we built in Napa County,” Roberts said.

In 1998, Roberts, who owned a Hallmark store in Napa for more than 30 years, was volunteering at a local school when he encountered the principal, distraught. A student had fallen and hit her head on some outdated playground equipment. “I said, ‘Well, we’ve got to do something.'”

That ‘something’ has since turned into many, many playthings.

Roberts and the Kiwanis Club began building multiple playgrounds every year around the county. At first, they would raise the money for the construction, but now provide thousands of dollars worth of free labor to build the structures in just one day.

Working with Landscape Structures, Roberts directs the large-scale volunteer effort that goes into building the playgrounds. He says people from all walks of life come out to help the children of the community. “They're out there working like crazy and they're not used to that kind of work but they do it because they know it's for the kids,” Jim said. “I love being with the kids.”

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