No weather clause for ‘Day of Service’

       Unfazed by mid-30s temperatures and alternating rain and snow the morning of Oct. 8, about 200 volunteers deployed to 11 Westside locations to tackle long lists of clean-up and fix-up chores.
       Most of the work was outdoors, in keeping with advance plans that had assumed a continuation of the area's previous dry, warm, fall weather.

On an Oct. 8 morning that alternated rain and snow, two Day of Service volunteers shovel fresh playground sand while others clean up the west parking area at Community Partnership for Child Development.
Westside Pioneer photo

       “I don't understand it. It's a miracle,” event organizer Frank Shoptaugh said two days later. “People got wet and cold, but they all stayed and worked hard for three hours. Hopefully nobody's sick today.”
       Organized through the Woodmen Valley Chapel - which also manages the Westside Community Center and had previously worked with families at the Express Inn - the event was called A Day of Service. Shoptaugh estimated that roughly 90 percent of the workers were from Woodmen.
       He had initially asked for 300 volunteers. “Only about 25 people [who had signed up in advance] didn't show,” he said.
       In all, about 80 percent of the planned work got done, he said.
       One site cancelled. That was Greccio Housing. A representative of the nonprofit believed the weather was too miserable, Shoptaugh said.
       Some locations had been scheduled for mowing or painting. But those were two kinds of jobs on which the weather had the final say. “We had 14 lawnmowers, but they stayed in the trucks,” he said.
       The biggest effort went into the A-1 Mobile Home Park, off Garner Street. A few lots had weeds and various types of debris piled up. Two dumpsters were needed.
       Especially pleased with seeing the trash piles diminish were Margery and Duran Young, who have been the managers at A-1 for two years. Working on the park's largest open area with the Woodmen volunteers, the two said they are hopeful it can become a children's play area. The park owners had once intended it for trailer lots, they pointed out, but because the retaining walls were built too close to the street the space is too short to allow trailers.
       “We're definitely glad they came here today,” Margery said of the volunteers. “Cleaning this up with just the two of us wasn't possible.”
       Woodmen hooked up with A-1 after making calls to schools and finding out that a large number of lower-income students came from the trailer park.

Volunteers pick up trash and assorted debris from an open area at the A-1 Mobile Home Park during the multi-location Day of Service event Oct. 8. An already-filled dumpster can be seen in the background.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Other Day of Service locations were:
       Red Rock Canyon Open Space (parking lot and trailhead clean-up).
       Garden of the Gods (trail rehabilitation).
       Silver Key (weeds, trash).
       Midland Elementary (weeds, trash, mulch).
       Community Partnership for Child Development (landscaping, sand and mulch for playground, parking-lot and play area clean-up).
       Westside Community Center (landscaping, mulch, weeds)
       Buena Vista Elementary (weeds, cleanup)
       Bristol Elementary (trash, weeds, mulch, trim trees)
       Bijou School (trash weeds, yard work, hedge removal)
       West Elementary (trash, weeds, raking, clean windows, trim trees)

Westside Pioneer article