boy scouts of america, civil war battlefields, day of service, frederkicksburg, lady ozma, lds, mark dudenhefer, mormon helping hands, safe harbor, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, virginia
One of the reasons I wanted to become a journalist is the concept of “being in the know”. My mother calls it “being nosy”. I call it “curiosity in the world around me.”
Call it what you like, that is just who I am. I am quite the news and media junkie and enjoy hearing about the interesting things happening around me. I also like sharing the interesting things, as anyone following my twitter or Facebook stream know.
Overshare much? Why yes, yes I do.
Somehow, it got back to The Powers That Be I have this background and passion and that landed me a job working public affairs for my church. That’s all good, it’ll get me back in the game. Right?
I received an email about an upcoming Virginia Day of Service, including background information and the request to attend a meeting. I could barely contain myself. I loved the service day this spring, and knew whatever we did would rock.
Little did I know I’d be the one pretty much in charge of finding the service projects in Fredericksburg, VA for my Church’s attempt to participate.
What happened next was interesting, to say the least. As you know, since the announcement of the Day of Service, we experienced an earthquake, tropical storm (from the mountains???), and a hurricane. In the space of a week. Talk about needing to update your e-prep plans! Later came extreme flooding. That Day of Service? Much needed!
Regardless of the crazy local events, things began to fall into place. Projects came, buzz spread, and the volunteer RSVP list grew.
Of course, then I fell down
for the bazillionth time and busted up my ankle. So didn’t need that with less than a week before The Big Event.
I hobbled in on a pair of crutches for our kick off ceremony wearing an air splint on the busted ankle, a brace on one knee, and another brace on a wrist. Nothing could deter me from ensuring a successful day. Even the lean showing at ten minutes before the scheduled start.
Sitting to await for things to start rolling, I had only prayers that the bad weather only delayed, but did not deter people from attending. A lot of our activities included outside work. Would it happen?
When I stood again to speak to those gathered, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The crowd easily doubled in size with more trickling in. I relaxed and let things happen.
Mark Dudenhefer came and spoke a little about service, taking time out of his busy schedule. He’s currently Chairman of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, but is busy campaigning for a state position, so I knew his time was precious. Since this date came from the Commonwealth’s Governor, I thought it would be great to hear from someone in the local government and potentially half our volunteers live in the Stafford area.
Following his remarks, I started moving people towards their chosen service projects. I am so grateful for the people who helped me out by spearheading the different projects!
Twenty-four people went to clean the roadside of three local Civil War Battlefields of brush and fallen trees. I love the battlefields and enjoy the hiking and biking trails and roads. With the theme of “Helping Hands Through History”, this made sense. The park service appreciated the volunteers and put them to good work.
I think the most impressive site at the battlefields was a full-time missionary from Fiji chucking logs into the woods. Like they were marshmallows. *Note: If you chuck marshmallows into the woods I will de-friend you. Marshmallows are too good to waste.*
Across nine different sites along the canal and river, volunteers picked up litter and debris. With a total of 89 volunteers over 300 hours of service, more than 1700 pounds of garbage disappeared. Hopefully the river is a little more enjoyable for a few weeks for Fredericksburg residents.
An Eagle Scout Project completed 175 fleece blankets courtesy of 114 volunteers. The cause: Safe Harbor, a facility to help abused children get their story out in a safe environment.
Other forms of service came in a food drive for a military unit serving in Iraq, yard work, sewing burial clothes for infants, minor home repairs, and the like.
As for me, I called on a friend to drive my gimpy self around to check on the sites and photograph things. With several hundred volunteers, it was a full day of good work.
I’m so glad I could take part in something as amazing as this day of service. The organizations we joined with and the people who came to lend helping hands worked miracles. How lucky I am to witness their mighty efforts! I am truly blessed to live near and associate with some of the best people.
Perhaps we’ll have another service day soon. If so, I’ll be there to share in the labor and the spirit and of course to photograph and blog about it. For now, I’m glad it is over and I can rest my foot and knee.