Castle Building by Knight Hands


The finished product looks like a castle but in fact it is a playground set for youngsters. Knight Hands got involved when Rachel Cromwell-Reetz (Holy Spirit Youth Ministry Coordinator) contacted David Dybala (Director of Knight Hands) asking if Knight Hands could assemble the playground for her grandkids whose parents are Tiffany and Patrick Bryant. David said “sure”, and so on Thursday morning February 9, 2023, David Dybala, Dan Murphy, Allen Reitmeier, David Ybarra, Jesse Radillo, Jose Montoya, and Larry Balagna arrived at 6108 Hedgeapple Court in Arlington to tackle this project. At first blush this job appears relatively simple. But in reality if was extremely complicated. First off there were 491 pieces of lumber that had to be assembled in the proper order. There were numerous bags of bolts, nuts and screws of various sizes and lengths that had to be used in the proper location as well. There were 48 pages of instructions on how to do this bad boy – Whew!!

Jesse Radillo and Dan Murphy assembling the platform.
David Dybala and Larry Balagna assembling the turret

After leveling a spot in the back yard, Jose Montoya and Dan Murphy, David Ybarra and Jesse Radillo started with the platform construction while David Dybala, Allen Reitmeier, and Larry Balagna started assembling the round turret. As time went on we developed into a rhythm where Jose Montoya would study the drawing, announce the pieces to use and the required fasteners, and the rest of us would then locate them and install those pieces in the proper order and place.

Jose Montoya studying the instruction manual

This was complicated by the fact that these 491 wood pieces were randomly packed in 5 large boxes – so each piece had to be searched out and identified by very difficult markings. Slowly and steadily as the day wore on, the playground set came into shape and by the end of day #1, the basic components had been installed. Those components were the playground platform, the ladder, the various decks, the turret, the slide, and the rock climbing wall. We started at 8:30am and knocked off work about 5:30pm – so a pretty full day. We snacked on pigs-in-blanket and bearclaw pastry along with water, soft drinks, and gatorade. Coffee was provided by Tiffany. We – David Dybala, Larry Balagna, Dan Murphy, Allen Reitmeier, and Jesse Radillo – completed the work on Friday February 10th. Again we started about 8:30am and the days work consisted mainly of installing the various roofs on the playground, as well as assembling a miniature picnic table. This day Dan Murphy determined which piece went where and the rest of us installed them.

Jesse Radillo and Larry Balagna adding the final details – hand bars

There were also many final details that had to be completed before we could say the job was done. By 12:30pm the job was complete. In total Knight Hands contributed approximately 80 man hours of volunteer hours. If you have ever assembled a piece of IKEA furniture. this was just like it times a thousand. Thanks men – you did good.