Don't let appearances fool you about the seasoned citizen who likes to visit parks, who can measure his accomplishments by watching little kids trying to tear up a playground.
"See, they're laughing," said Jim Roberts. He's a Napa treasure, and the man most responsible for building 73 playgrounds around the region after Saturday.
"It's pretty crazy. I thought I would do one playground, then. Now we're at 73...74 next month."
"But who's counting?"
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"Yeah," Roberts laughed.
At 92 years old, numbers don't much impress him. It is not as if Roberts went looking for playgrounds---more like the other way around. In 1998, he heard of a little girl who fell from a piece of equipment, hit her head, and suffered a concussion.
Though he never met her or even knows her name he said that wasn't going to happen again.
"Well it shouldn't happen," said Roberts. "A playground should not only be fun, but safe, and this was not safe."
Just spent this am with a remarkable man & not because he's 92 going on 70. Jim Roberts has organized the building 73 playgrounds in #Napa County with #kiwanis . Began in '98 when a kid fell and got concussion. #abc7now Another playground tomorrow. Still married to HS sweetheart. pic.twitter.com/H4FXlTgPqs— Wayne Freedman (@WayneFreedman) September 6, 2019
So began Roberts' campaign with the Kiwanis Club to bring in volunteers to cut down the cost of labor. Roberts' home is his office, surrounded by pictures of his high school sweetheart and wife, with whom he raised four children.
"What makes him go?," we asked Gary Lehman, who has worked with Roberts for two decades.
"Life. He's a happy man."
And forever, young at heart, it seems. When volunteers arrive early Saturday morning, they won't just be building a playground. They'll be working with a force of nature. One man making a difference, leaving a legacy to generations.
"I didn't know growing old at 92 would make me a legend! Ha! That's funny!"