Lonestar: Playground Kaboom

You've probably heard of Habitat for Humanity, the volunteer-based organization whose mission is to build houses. Then there's something called Kaboom.

Instead of houses, they build playgrounds for kids who need them.

The materials are all donated by Home Depot. And, The Early Show Correspondent Melinda Murphy explains, you're never sure who else might get in on the action.

On May 4, 2003, a tornado ripped through Jackson, Tenn. When it was over, 11 were dead and $50 million worth of property was damaged and entire houses had vanished.

Now, more than six months later, the town of 60,000 is still struggling to recover. And, some unlikely heroes had come to lend a hand.

Heroes such as the band Lonestar. You may not know their faces, but you probably recognize their music -- songs like "I'm Already There" and "Walking in Memphis."

But the multi-platinum group is known for more than just their music. This year, the Academy of Country Music honored them the Home Depot Humanitarian Award.

Their award from Home Depot was a Kaboom playground. So they got to choose the city that they wanted to build it in. Their choice: Jackson, Tenn.

"We just thought, 'You know what? There's a place right here in our own back yard that really needs our help,'" Lonestar's Richie McDonald explains.

But the group did more than just pick a spot. They pitched right in and worked side-by-side with local volunteers.

"It's just like working with some of the other guys at the store," volunteer Kris Doyle says. "It's neat."

The members of Lonestar may be celebrities, but they're all pretty darn handy, too.

"I guess I was in Boy Scouts when I was about 13, and we would build things," Lonestar's Keech Rainwater says. "We'd go out in the woods and camp out and build things out of logs. I guess that kind of got me started."

Being in Jackson and being part of the project was more than charity for the band.

"Anytime you can be involved and actually put your hard work into it, it makes it a little bit more rewarding," Lonestar's Michael Britt says.

It may be why the four all stayed until the bitter end, and they even entertained a little along the way.

Soon, the Boys and Girls Club had a new playground to call their own.

"I could just cry because things are so special and exciting today and it's because of [Lonestar] that this dream is coming true," Boys and Girls Club's Executive Director Sabrina Anderson says.

Which was exactly what Lonestar wanted.

"To be able to come here and build this playground for these kids, I mean give them something to be happy about, to be positive about, because you know, a lot of kids they don't understand what's going on," says Lonestar Dean Sams. "Why they don't have a house, why they don't have a school, why they don't have a playground to play on. They don't understand that mother nature just did it's thing."

Having a new playground won't replace what's gone.

"It leaves a hole in your heart," says volunteer Bobby Hart. "And you turn down a street, and you see something that used to be there and [it's] just no longer there and it just reminds you, again, of what the storm did."

The new equipment won't erase the children's memories of the tornado either.

"The tree fell down on top of our house and the roof," young Jarvis Greenhill remembers. "We was trapped in the house because there was a tree in our driveway."

Last week, Lonestar was nominated for yet another Grammy. If you want to find out more about how to get involved with Kaboom, go here.
  • Rome Neal

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