The Creation of Miracle Recreation
The original creators of play for almost a century.
Before 1927, Miracle® was just an idea. An idea for an innovative merry-go-round, the Miracle® Whirl, designed by John Ahrens and his son, Claude.
When Claude became the company’s owner, he drove expansion with creativity and big thinking. After redesigning and selling 900 Whirls in 1947, Claude extended the product line with swings, teeter-totters, and jungle gyms, using distinguishing candy-cane stripe paint.
Over the years, Miracle’s innovations included small carousels sold to drive-in movies and large stores, fiberglass-covered wooden stadium bleachers, and modular swimming pools for schools. With his son, Paul Ahrens, Claude also created the People Mover Train and 16 other patented designs.
Miracle® continues to develop and bring thrilling play to communities throughout the United States. A lot has changed since 1927, but Miracle® remains committed to the creativity and innovation that have defined us.
Creating playgrounds is a family tradition.
We’ve brought thrills into communities for generations. Many of our representatives have a family business heritage, deeply rooted in the playground industry. It’s one of the many reasons why Miracle® playgrounds stay in touch with what communities need.
Bob and Andy Ahrens
Bob and Andy Ahrens are third- and fourth-generation playground leaders. They descend from Miracle Whirl inventor, John Ahrens. Bob’s dad, Johnny Ahrens, sold the Whirls from a trailer on the back of his car. Years later, Bob managed the steel factory for his brother, Claude Ahrens. Since 1981, Bob has been president of Park Place Recreation Designs, Inc. and has served as Miracle’s representative in South Texas. Bob’s son, Andy, rose through the ranks from “playground tester” in a family of playground builders, to sales designer and general manager, with his own family of playground testers.
Sue and Jeff Churchich
Jeff Churchich has more than 30 years of experience with Miracle Recreation. He followed his father who began representing Miracle in 1966 and served customers for more than 50 years. In 2004, Jeff founded Churchich Recreation and Design. With his wife, Sue, and their son, Ely, they serve customers throughout the Carolinas.
Chris Churchich is the owner and president of Churchich Recreation, a family-owned business that has served Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, and West Texas for decades. He succeeded his father Bob Churchich, who founded the company in 1974, as the exclusive distributor for Miracle. Since its inception, Churchich Recreation has completed thousands of park and recreational projects and excels in project design, planning, and construction management.
Brad and Curt Hutchinson
Owned and operated by brothers Brad and Curt, Hutchinson Recreation & Design has been a Miracle representative since it was established by their father, Roger Hutchinson, in 1972. Today, they’re the most experienced supplier of recreational products to parks, schools, landscape architects, daycares, churches, and retail centers in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois.
Joe and Denise Denzak
Joe and Denise Denzak are a second-generation Miracle family. Founded in 1958 by Joe’s father, Denzak Recreational Design & Supply has been western and central New York’s premier park and playground equipment consulting and design firm. Parents of a child with special needs, Joe and Denise have a long history of designing playgrounds that meet the sensory and vestibular needs of all children. They strongly believe in leveling the playing field so that all kids can play happily among their peers.
Tami Phillips and Josh Wagner
In 1998, Tami Phillips founded Miracle of KY & TN, a woman-owned and family-run business that supplies, designs, and installs Miracle Equipment. Tami has decades of experience in the industry, and her team of expert playground design specialists includes her husband, Jeff Phillips, who heads the installation crews, and son, Josh Wagner, who has been a salesman for Miracle of KY & TN since 2010.
Dave Tooley is a second-generation Miracle representative. His father, Bob Tooley, was a Parks Director for 20 years and knew Miracle was the best equipment in the industry. In 1985, he co-founded Engan-Tooley-Doyle & Associates, Inc. (ETD), later becoming Miracle Midwest, to provide consulting, layout, design, and equipment supply services throughout Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. Dave Tooley worked at ETD in his teens, eventually becoming Sales Manager at Miracle Midwest. Today, Dave is a Regional Sales Manager with Miracle and assists representative agencies throughout the nation.