Prescott playground dedicated to Kayla Mueller open

Posted at 10:53 AM, Aug 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-28 08:58:40-04

The hometown of an Arizona woman who was captured and killed by Islamic State militants now has a playground in her memory.

The family of Kayla Mueller led the grand opening of Kayla's Hands Playground in a Prescott park Saturday.

The Kiwanis Club of Prescott and a foundation in Mueller's name oversaw efforts to raise money to construct the play area.

Mueller's father, Carl Mueller, is a member of the Kiwanis Club.

"Kayla would be proud that she is bringing so much joy to so many families. We can feel Kayla here," he said.

Organizers say the playground pays tribute to Mueller's dedication to helping children.

Brenda Philips didn't know the Muellers but says she wants her kids to know about Kayla.

"I think it's a great cause, and hopefully, we can use this playground to teach our children the way she was taught," Philips said. "We had a talk when we found out what had happened, and I think it's, on some level, above and beyond them, but I shared a little bit of her and what she stood for and what happened to her."

A humanitarian aid worker, the 26-year-old was captured by ISIS in August 2013 after leaving a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aleppo, Syria.

She was held for 18 months.

Her family and the Obama administration confirmed her death in February 2015.