National Day of Service Bears Fruit in the Willamette Valley

Saturday September 17, 2011 was a fruitful day in the Willamette Valley. Over 800 volunteers from ten wards and one branch (a ward or branch is similar in geography to a protestant congregation or catholic parish) of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, St Philips Catholic parish, and Valley Life Center, worked together following the Apostle Paul’s admonition “With good will doing service…1″.

The service day was in response to President Henry B. Erying’s address urging members of the Church to “seek revelation as they design2″ service projects which will make a difference in their neighborhoods. The projects chosen by church members on the 17th will benefit thousands of people.

The work in Dallas, West Salem, Monmouth and the City of Independence focused on the needs of schools. The goal of those volunteers was to paint, clean and help with landscaping projects that have proven challenging for the schools to tackle on their own.

Principal Steve Spencer of Dallas High School said, “I have incredible gratitude that church and community can come together to show pride in the building and education.”

Kevin Hughes Landscape Maintenance Supervisor Western Oregon University expressed his gratitude by stating; “I am very grateful for all the help from the volunteers because our maintenance staff always try to get everything finished before school starts in the fall, but this is one project we haven’t been able to finish.”

Painting, planting flowers, and spreading bark dust at the Ron Wilson Center, blackberry removal and moving a burn pile for Partnerships in Community Living, and clearing rocks from the city’s athletic fields were other projects in the Monmouth Independence area.

After these tasks were completed John McCardle Mayor of Independence was quoted as saying “I came down today to extend my heartfelt gratitude. This (Independence) is my family, this is home. This project (the ballpark) is great because it is a project that all age groups can help with. We are so grateful to all of these wonderful people for taking their personal time to come and help this incredible project move forward.”

Lincoln City’s mission was to help give a face-lift the Cutler City Wetlands off highway 101 on the Oregon coast. The wetlands have 1 ½ miles of walking trails which wind through forest, marsh, and the beach. Volunteers spread gravel and bark dust, groomed trails, installed a new picnic table and built a bridge all which will greatly enhance the experience for those who come to enjoy the park.

Those in Willamina have been working all summer and will continue into to the fall, providing yard upkeep for those who are unable to do the work themselves. This service will help those individuals avoid being cited for code violations by the city.

It was wonderful to see so many people working together with the common goal of helping their communities. Tammy McCammon (Director of Volunteer Services, Salem-Keizer Education Foundation) summed it up by saying. “Watching community members come together in service…. warms my heart. It reminds us all what a difference we can make when we work collaboratively. Wow!”

1. Ephesians 6:7


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