Savannah’s Playground, the multi-million-dollar facility at Grand Park in Myrtle Beach, SC continues to amass awards.

The enabling playground that opened in 2016 was honored this week with the distinguished Herbruck-Fritsche Award, an international Public Relations award celebrating the nation’s top pro bono project. Making the presentation on behalf of the playground and accepting the award was Denise Blackburn-Gay, APR, President & CEO of Marketing Strategies, Inc. “We are proud of our involvement with Savannah’s Playground,” Blackburn-Gay said.  “It is our honor to give back to the community that has been so good to us,” she said.

Earlier this month, Savannah’s Playground was recognized by the South Carolina Parks & Recreation Association with the SCRPA 2017 Parks Excellence Award.

“I couldn’t be happier or more proud,” said John Rhodes, former Mayor of Myrtle Beach and the founder of Savannah’s Playground. “These accolades are a testament to the playground, its mission, and the hardworking individuals who brought the dream to life,” he said. “You’ve heard it said that it takes a village.  In this case, it takes an entire beach—Myrtle Beach.”

Savannah’s Playground features ADA-approved playground equipment and structures designed to provide children of all abilities the opportunity for social interaction. It has welcomed more than 250,000 children and adults since it opened in September 2016. “This is a playground for everyone,” said John Rhodes. “It is a place for both handicapped children and parents with disabilities.  It is heartwarming to see a handicapped parent play with their child on a specially designed swing set or slide, often for the very first time. This playground was built with the vision of creating a barrier-free, bias-free world.”

While many organizations and individuals have been instrumental in the playground’s development, it is Savannah Thompson, the 21-year-old daughter of Lance and Marjorie Thompson of Myrtle Beach, who inspired the project.

Savannah was born with Williams Syndrome, a condition characterized by learning disabilities and developmental delays. Her condition was further complicated when, as the result of surgery, she suffered significant brain trauma. Although doctors gave little hope, Savannah defied the odds and fought her way back. “That fighting instinct has been an inspiration to our entire community,” said John Rhodes.  

About Savannah’s Playground

Savannah’s Playground is an enabling playground featuring ADA-approved playground equipment and structures designed to provide children of all ages and abilities the opportunity for social interaction. For more information or to donate visit

About Marketing Strategies

Marketing Strategies, Inc. is a full-service marketing and PR firm offering an integrated approach to marketing, advertising, and public relations. Recognized nationwide for their award-winning print and digital campaigns and PR activities, they have twice received the nation’s most prestigious public relations award, the Herbruck-Fritsche Award, as well as the Dave Wilson award recognizing excellence in consumer advertising.  Marketing Strategies has been honored as “One of the Southeast’s Ten Most Reliable Web Design Firms” for five consecutive years.

For more information on Marketing Strategies, Inc. visit them online at or call (843) 692-9662.


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