First Posted: 9/12/2009
If the buildings and grounds of local non-profit agencies look a lot better this week, credit the efforts of a small army of volunteers who rolled up their sleeves Saturday morning for some community service.
Mario Barros was one of some 65 people who came out to participate in the sixth-annual Community Cares Day conducted by the United Fund of Surry, though he has lived in Mount Airy for only about three months.
I felt it was the right thing to do, explained Barros, 65, a native of Portugal who also has resided in New York and decided to retire to Mayberry.
I read in the paper about it, he added of the special day of volunteerism, and I just showed up and tried to help.
While wielding a pair of clippers, Barros said he was simply continuing a habit of public service which was established before his arrival in Mount Airy. Ive always been involved in other communities, so I might as well get involved here, too.
He joined a group of volunteers Saturday for a landscaping project at the Surry American Red Cross office on Westlake Drive, who mainly included 10 members of the Interact Club of Mount Airy High School. They mulched flowers and shrubs on the grounds, trimmed the bushes, cleared debris and handled other tasks to the delight of Cathy Loggins, Red Cross executive director.
I think its wonderful, Loggins said as the work was under way, adding that it was great to be benefiting from the services of the volunteers which will save us a lot of expense.
We look forward to this every year, the Red Cross official said.
Several Sites Aided
But the local Red Cross was not the only beneficiary of Community Cares Day.
Work occurred at other sites in the county as well where agencies supported by the United Fund are based. These included the Surry Medical Ministries clinic on Rockford Street, Charles H. Stone Memorial Library in Pilot Mountain, Childrens Center of Surry in Dobson and Yokefellow Ministries facilities at the L.H. Jones Family Resource Center on Jones School Road.
Other work will be conducted during the upcoming week at facilities of the Shepherds House and Mountain Valley Hospice.
In addition to landscaping, the tasks involved painting and other work at the various United Fund agencies.
The volunteers included members of school organizations such as the Mount Airy Interact Club and the East Surry Future Farmers of America as well as a scout group. Venture Crew 540 from First Presbyterian Church also was involved.
Additionally, several businesses committed helpers for the improvement projects, including Advanced Electronic Services, BB&T-Blue Ridge Burke Insurance, Workforce Carolina and Southdata Inc.
Some individuals not associated with any business or group simply lent their elbow grease to the effort in response to a newspaper plea for help.
Organizers said the Mount Airy Rescue Squad, also a United Fund agency, greatly assisted with the days efforts as well. The workers met at the squad building before deploying to their various work sites.
A Team Effort
At the conclusion of Saturdays activities, Brenda Goings, coordinator of the Community Cares Day and a member of the board of directors of the United Fund of Surry, was pleased with what had been accomplished.
It was a team effort, Goings said. Wed like to continue this as a long-term tradition.
The coordinator added that Saturdays volunteer activities were dedicated to the national day of service observed Friday in commemoration of the Sept. 11 tragedy.
Goings was thankful for the generosity of Surry Countians who donated their time for the effort, especially the students. I was proud of the young people who not only worked, but also learned a lot more about their communities, she said.
The Mount Airy High School Interact Club members who were busy at the Red Cross seemed glad for the opportunity to help.
Wes Bledsoe, for one, said he got a good feeling knowing that he was assisting the community as well as improving the appearance of the Red Cross grounds.
Katie Bowman, another club member, stopped shoveling mulch into a box momentarily to point out that Saturdays project mirrored one of the goals of the Interact Club, promoting community service through volunteer work.
Its what we do, she said.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.