TAMPA, Fla. (UPDATED: 12:15 P.M. ET, 8/29/12)—Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, helped Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney and other credit union and hospital representatives open a new therapeutic playground at All Children's Hospital today.
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney and Ann Romney, center, are joined, from the left, by RNC Committee on Arrangements Chairman Alec Poitevent, Romney's granddaughter Chloe, and Maggie Reilly of Tampa's All Children's Hospital.
Romney joined Cheney and representatives from CUNA, the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation, the League of Southeastern Credit Unions and the National Journal Group, CUNA Mutual Group and others at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the playground, saying the project was one way to help "make people's lives better." She also thanked credit unions for their fundraising efforts.
The renovated play space will serve All Children's Hospital and patients in the area, and features special play equipment designed for the rehabilitation process. New plants were brought in and a retaining wall was constructed as part of the playground renovation process.
Cheney said the playground project is emblematic of the credit union philosophy of "people helping people.
"This newly revitalized play ground will provide a beautiful place for healing and play—a place where children undergoing treatment here can have the joy of just being able to climb, swing, and pretend," Cheney said in prepared remarks. "Sometimes, as I think all the parents here would agree, that can be the best medicine of all."
He noted that hundreds of man hours, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in charitable contributions, have been dedicated by credit unions in the Tampa Bay area and across the country in support of the project. Cheney also offered special thanks to Patrick La Pine; CEO and Mary Ott Wood, chairman of the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, and the Southeastern Credit Union Foundation, as well as recognizing the strong support of CUNA Mutual Group and CO-OP Financial Services.
The charitable "leave behind" project is in honor of the 2012 Republican National Convention, which began Monday in Tampa and is scheduled to continue through Thursday.
A similar project to build a rooftop playground is also underway at Levine Children's Hospital in Charlotte, N.C. The Charlotte renovation project will honor the 2012 Democratic National Convention. That convention begins next week.
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Thursday for more details about Romney and this CUNA leave-behind project.