SOUTH WINDSOR, CONN. – Shawmut recently collaborated with Make-A-Wish® Connecticut to grant South Windsor resident Paul Gramuglia’s wish for a backyard fort. Gramuglia, who suffers from a critical illness that restricts his movement, received his custom-built, wheelchair-accessible fort in late October.

“Paul’s backyard fort was a particularly special project for us here at Shawmut along with our incredible team of volunteers,” said Ken Procino, Connecticut regional director at Shawmut. “It was an honor to get to know Paul and his family, and to partner with Make-A-Wish® Connecticut to bring his wish to life.”

During the four-month pre-construction planning process, Shawmut worked closely with Gramuglia’s parents to get to know Paul and his brothers’ personalities and determine which features would allow them to maneuver throughout the fort easily. Shawmut Superintendent Jeff Whalen incorporated this insight into a structural design that allows the family to navigate the fort with ease. With help from Make-A-Wish® Connecticut and volunteers from the Aetna Foundation, the fort was completely built and stained off-site, then trucked in and re-assembled in seven hours for the surprise unveiling. The 34’ by 24’ fort features rough sawn pine from a local Connecticut saw mill, a custom access ramp, an enclosed area with rope-operated sliding barn doors and wood shutters, a lookout area with a periscope, telescope, and ship’s wheel, a tetherball court, a sandbox, and custom-carved “Fort Paul” signs and flags.

“Partners like Shawmut are essential to wishes like Paul’s,” said Pam Keough, Make-A-Wish® Connecticut president and CEO. “This fort isn’t just a place for Paul to play, it’s something that will inspire strength and hope for his entire family.”

The assembly of the fort includes generous donations from local business including Stor-Away Storage, Moore’s Sawmill, SPS Services, Cedar Ridge Construction Services, Sherwin Williams, United Rentals, Glen Terrace Landscaping, Branford Building Supplies, and United Site Services.