Most people, if they woke up on a Saturday morning to pouring rain would call off their plans to paint and landscape for the day, preferring to do it when the weather was better. But this Saturday morning, despite the rain, nearly 700 volunteers from 29 churches and the community turned out to paint and landscape at two Albany elementary schools. Giving the community a gift that school district facilities foreman Gary Dahlquist says is “Huge, the amount of money saved by the district is hard to calculate.” Estimates from the Serve INC board ran at $100,000 in value for the 80 yards of bark dust, 500+ gallons of paint and volunteer time.
Dahlquist goes on to say, “We appreciate the work that’s been done today. There is just no way we could have got this quality of work with our current budget. It’s nice to see the community come together to do such a large job.”
Chairman of the board for Serve INC Mike Martin said he’s “Really pleased with the volunteers who came out, excited about the unity shown with the church working together, and thankful that God gave us good weather in the end.”
Home Depot, The Bark Place, and Sherwin Williams were among the sponsors who donated paint and other materials for the job. Several contractors gave up their Saturday to help out with the project; Larry Crawford,Paul Risinger, Robby Dennis of College Pro Painters, and Premier State Homes. Other major sponsors include Doris Scharpf, Burcham’s Metals, Clay Dluehosh of Edward Jones, Security Alarm Corp, ATI Wah Chang and Assurant.
Other sponsors provided food for the event like Allan Bros. who provided coffee for the volunteers, and Albertsons who provided donuts. See more of our sponsors here.
Lunch was served by a team of volunteers headed up by Jennie Freitag. Gerri Cheshire helped get donations of food for the event. (Including Van Vleet meat who donated the hot dogs and Burgerville who gave water bottles.) They were helped by Raymond Freitag and George Coulter who cooked the hot dogs, and Susan & Jennifer Coulter, Patty and Mandy Bender, Jimmy Martin and Laura Barna who helped serve. 700 is a lot of people to feed, but they made it look easy and nobody had to wait very long for their food.
Throughout the day spirits remained high. “I’ve never seen anything like it before; smiling faces, great attitudes, and an awesome job. In 15 years (working at Lafayette) I’ve never seen it looking this good,” said Katrina Gonzales. “And all in one day!”
Julie Foss of the District 8J physical plant said, “The community really came together to paint and landscape a school that was in desperate need.”
Of the 700 volunteer 70 were team leaders. They came an hour early to get supplies together and help organize the event. Each area had two team leaders assigned. This really ensured that the work flowed smoothly. Danielle B. one of the leaders said, “Today was a fantastic day to give glory to God, connect to others and be of service to our community.”
That attitude was echoed time and again when talking to those working at both schools.
“It’s so satisfying to see everyone come together. To see how kind and thoughtful they were toward each other,” Brenda B. one of the painters at Lafayette said.
Dennis M. who did landscaping at both schools said he’s looking forward to doing it again next year. “It’s been hard work today, but rewarding,” he said, “It’s been great to see the incredible fellowship, the way everyone came together today. And I certainly got my exercise!”
For Larry Crawford, one of the contractors it wasn’t about the physical labor. It was “seeing the people cooperate, their joyful spirit.” He went on to say “I don’t think I heard a harsh word all day. A little different from your normal construction job site.” He also enjoyed seeing people come forward and say “I can do that.” People who stepped up with the skills and talent to do the job right.
This massive volunteer effort at Lafayette was organized by Mike Dedera of Jefferson Baptist Church. “I cannot say how amazing people are to step forward and sacrifice their Sat. to get the job done. The volunteers were here to the bitter end. They stayed to complete the job and do it right. It’s not sloopy they worked the details like pros.”
As each area was finished a contractor did a final check off. They were surprised at how well the work was completed. It looked like “everyone wanted to do the best job possible,” said one of them.
Rob Nelke lead the effort at Sunrise, “People just had a great attitude even through the rain. We had some super stars who did a fantastic job. It was just awesome to see the church come together today.”
Sponsors, donors, churches, and volunteers from around the mid-valley: Serve INC is happy to bring them together to complete this gift to our community. There are many, many more people we could thank for making this day happen. If you participated in anyway know you are appreciated and…