Volunteers turn out for Day of Caring
by Iris Hunter Richmond County Daily Journal
On Tuesday more than 100 volunteers participated in United Way of Richmond County’s sixth annual Day of Caring, a day where individuals set aside some time to give back to their community.
The volunteers were scheduled to go to at least one site and work on a project or even several projects. Some of the sites that the volunteers visited included: New Horizons Life & Family Services in Rockingham, the Ellerbe Senior Center, BackPack Pals in Hamlet, Habitat for Humanity in Hamlet and the Sandhills Children’s Center in Rockingham.
Scott Waters, volunteer rescue chief, stated that the Richmond County Rescue Squad has been participating in the Day of Caring event for the past six years and has helped out with several organizations, including Habitat for Humanity and BackPack Pals.
Waters has been the rescue squad chief for exactly 12 years today. He certainly remembers his first day as chief — it was Sept. 11, 2001, the day nearly 3,000 people were killed in the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, at the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C., and in a plane crash near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Waters has been a member of the rescue squad since June of 1989.
This year the volunteers from the rescue squad chose to work on their own project, filling in an embankment adjacent to the rescue squad building, along with the help of 12 volunteers from Piedmont Natural Gas. Waters said that he thought it was a good idea to work on their own project since others came out to get dirty and help complete the task.
The project entailed the volunteers digging out the bank and then placing more than 100 tons of rocks, donated by Vulcan Materials Company, on top of the dirt to help keep the dirt in place and fight erosion. The volunteers helped place some of the rocks along the bank, and a front-end loader was also used on the project.
Waters wanted to work on fixing the bank because he felt that it was an eyesore and wanted it be more pleasing to the eyes. He stated that at this time only half of the bank will receive improvements, but he is currently trying to figure out how he will fix up the other half after giving it a thorough inspection.
He is hoping that there does not have to be much that needs to be done to the second part of the embankment. Currently, he has already sprayed the other half of it with weed-killer to help kill the weeds.
Waters was delighted to have volunteers from Piedmont Natural Gas come help out with the project because they are experts and they will be able to complete the project safely, correctly and efficiently.
“Without them it would not have been possible,” said Waters.
Joel Fox, Operations Manager and Site Manager of Piedmont Natural Gas in Rockingham, is one of the 12 volunteers who decided to give back to the community and help out with the project. He stated that the company has been supporting United Way for more than 30 years.
“We live in the community and work for the community,” Fox said.
Anna Liles, personal banker at Community One Bank in Rockingham, also participated in the Day of Caring event.
She first visited the Sandhill Children’s Center in Rockingham and then she went to New Horizons Life & Family Services in Rockingham.
While she was at the Sandhills Children’s Center she had the chance to interact with the kids, including dancing with them and sitting down with them during story time.
“It was neat to see how the teacher interacted with them,” she said.
After she left the Sandhill Children’s Center, she went to New Horizons Life & Family Services and helped to paint the inside of the office building.
She said that she has been volunteering for the Day of Caring event for several years.
“I think that it is a good opportunity to help out the community,” said Liles.
Prior to volunteers starting projects, the United Way hosted its kick-off breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the Cole Auditorium at Richmond Community College in Hamlet.
At the breakfast, Cynthia Bradley with American Red Cross, Harold Pearson with Samaritan Colony and Laura Grier with Richmond County 4-H Clubs, talked to the audience about what their program is all about and how the funding from United Way has impacted their agency.
There were 12 agencies that set up a booth and informed attendees about the agency, including Sandhills Children’s Center, Richmond County Literacy Council, BackPack Pals, Samaritan Colony, Red Cross, New Horizons Life & Family Services, Girl Scouts and 4-H Clubs.
“It was a great day seeing everyone come out to join us for our kick-off and welcome a new campaign season,” said Michelle Parrish, the executive director of United Way of Richmond County.
Parrish said that she is looking forward to another great year.
“Our United Way board announced the goal for our 2013-2014 campaign year is $250,000,” she said.
United Way of Richmond County was founded in 1966 and its mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community. The vision of the nonprofit is to engage all citizens to work together to build a healthy, safe, caring and stronger community.
— Staff Writer Iris Hunter can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.
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