Family Builds Playground to Honor 5-Year-Old Who Drowned

Lynchburg, VA - A Lynchburg family is raising money to build a playground in honor of one special little boy.

Nate Baker, 5, drowned at Smith Mountain Lake on Labor Day this year. Building a specific kind of playground was his dream.

Baker's actually from Maryland, but a lot of his family lives here in central Virginia. Funds have been raised to help build this playground, but there's still a long way to go. One of Nate's cousins who lives here in Lynchburg is determined that Nate gets his wish.

Baker, better known as Nate, loved to be outside. The playground at his school in Mechanicsville, Maryland had been slowly deteriorating.

"Having it roped off didn't sit well with him because kids couldn't go out and have fun," said Brown.

His dream was to have a new playground for his younger siblings and classmates. It's a dream he'll never see.

Brandon Brown, Nate's cousin, was there when rescuers carried Nate out of the water.

"All I could do was just hit my knees and cry. It was just something you see maybe scripted, but it's something you would never want anyone to go through," said Brown.

Baker's family decided what better way to honor him than to build that brand new playground.

"Instead of being a 5 year old and enjoying what he could do, he was more worried about making it better and that's what inspired all of us to make it better," said Brown.

Brown wanted to help, but all the fundraisers were going on in Maryland. Then he got to thinking about all the family Nate has right here in Virginia.

"We're talking about 30 to 40 people," said Brown.

Brandon decided to do something at Timbrook Park, so for one day, they're turning it into one a Family Fun Fest fundraiser to make sure Nate gets his playground. They'll have face painting, a karate demonstration, a bounce house and more. Donations have come rolling in from friends and organizations.

"It feels great. It makes it worth living where you are. It makes you proud of your family and friends," said Brown.

The fundraiser is set for Saturday, November 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Timbrook Park. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the gate.

For tickets, call 434-610-4347