Last Updated: Mar 31st, 2014 - 14:20:42

Dozens of volunteers glad to do what others call a chore
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Dec 2, 2013, 12:19

JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Pvt. Dominick Hunt, a student at Fort Lee, rakes leaves at Mathis Field as part of a volunteer effort organized by Keep Hopewell Beautiful.

HOPEWELL — More than three dozen people — from the city fire marshal to Fort Lee soldiers to jail inmates — volunteered to rake leaves on a cold, windy day recently.

The effort was organized by Keep Hopewell Beautiful as a way to help elderly or disabled residents. But with a lot more people offering help than needing help, the volunteers went out to city parks Nov. 23 to make them look more presentable.

With the spray of the lake’s fountain in the background and the ducks cheering them on, several Fort Lee soldiers made quick work of leaves at Mathis Field.

Pvt. Dominick Hunt, who has been in Advanced Individual Training at Fort Lee for about four weeks, said volunteering in the surrounding community helps show that they are model soldiers.

“We were offered the privilege to come out and beautify Hopewell,” he said.

Brian Silver, vice chairman of Keep Hopewell Beautiful, was also among the volunteers at Mathis Field.

“This is one of the parks I visit a lot, so I decided to come out,” he said.
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Volunteers helped rake leaves at Atwater Park as part of an effort organized by Keep Hopewell Beautiful.

A vacuum truck came around to all the different locations to suck up the leaves.

At Westwood Playground, recently hired Fire Marshal James H. Reid Jr. came out to rake leaves. He said it was a bit of a struggle with the wind blowing but was excited to help out in the community.

Members of the Prince George High School Key Club came out to the park as well, using the event as their first service project of the school year. The group was led by geometry teacher Megan Cashing.

At Atwater Park, volunteers included some inmates from Riverside Regional Jail.

“We took names for volunteers. These are the ones that wanted to get out and get some fresh air,” said Officer Gina Childs.

After the raking was done, the volunteers enjoyed a lunch of barbecue at City Point Park.
Prince George High School Key Club sponsor Megan Cashing rakes leaves with Key Club members.

Keep Hopewell Beautiful Chairman Tommy Meadows said this event was a first for the group and he hopes they can do it every year after this.

“I want to get everyone involved. I want to help everybody. ... It definitely has potential to grow,” he said.

Another leaf raking event is set for Dec. 7. For information on how to volunteer or how to nominate someone who needs help, call 804-541-2220.

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