The Duncan Banner
Across the community, volunteers pitched in Friday for various beautification projects at area organizations for United Way of Stephens County’s Day of Caring.
United Way Executive Director Lauren Ellis said they officially had about 110 volunteers Friday morning with a large number of them taking the day off from classes at Duncan High School to serve their community.
“We just like to do whatever we can for the community,” Duncan High School Student Aubrey Mouser said.
With an increase in volunteers coming later in the afternoon, Ellis and Event Chair Gina Flesher estimated they had about 155 volunteers total, up from last year’s number.
“It is definitely an increase from last year,” Ellis said. “It probably increased by 40 people at the least.”
Flesher said she was grateful that area businesses allowed their employees to have the day off to come help and said they even had volunteers coming from Ardmore, Lawton and Chickasha.
The beautification efforts were not limited to Duncan alone as volunteers met at Christian Helping Hands of Comanche to install handrails and at Marlow Samaritans to box, sort and label clothing in preparation for the summer season.
Volunteers were given the opportunity to pick their service location from the 12 participating organizations at the beginning of the morning.
“The project leaders were extremely grateful for all the volunteers that gave their day to help with these projects and extremely grateful to all our sponsors and supporters who made this day possible,” Ellis said. “It was really and truly a community effort today. That is really rewarding to see.”
One stop was Duncan Little Theatre with efforts directed by Project Manager Sharon Burum, who was in charge of a similar project at Duncan Little Theatre for last year’s Day of Caring.
“We are just painting,” she said. “There were some areas we did not totally finish last year.”
The team at Duncan Little Theatre painted the bathroom and shelves in the main room and also worked to tidy up the place.
“We have a fabulous group of young people here from the high school with their teacher Amanda Smith,” Burum said. “She brought her Multicultural Club here. They are fabulous workers and willing to do anything. They are great volunteers.”
Some volunteers such as Kayce Miller and Kristen Arrington chose their project sites because they have worked with those organizations in the past.
Miller has been a part of Duncan Little Theatre productions while Kristen Arrington chose to work at the Stephens County Youth Shelter because of her previous involvement with them.
Arrington said she has worked with the Stephens County Youth Shelter’s Abba’s Hands program, which works with foster families providing them with support and materials they need to take care of their kids.
Volunteers at the shelter performed yard work duties including mowing grass and pulling weeds. They also assisted Tim Hunter, an employee at Halliburton, in installing two new exterior doors.
Christians Concerned was the recipient of new roofing shingles after Friday’s workday. With a cherry picker donated by Volvo-Rents, volunteers were able to easily get on top of the roof and replace the shingles. Inside, volunteers Sherry Labyer and Merry Stone were busy dusting off shelves and dry food kept on the shelves.
Stone is a United Way board member and chose to work at Christians Concerned because she has worked with them in the past. She said Day of Caring is a way that people can give back to the organizations that provide help to families in need or individuals experiencing crises in life.
“This is our way of saying ‘Thank you’ for their service to our community. Duncan really turns out for this event,” she said.
Volunteers also met at the Humane Society to perform grounds maintenance and remove tile flooring; Prairie House for yard work, installation of attic staircase foam and painting; all three of the Gabriel’s House locations for yard work, and Douglass East Side Senior Citizens’ Center for yard work. Volunteers made a sandbox for the playground at First Christian Day Care and hung a light, installed dryer vent covers, cleaned bathrooms and windows at Toy Shop.
Triumph Carpet Care donated services for carpet cleaning at Power Shop. Duncan Builders and Ace Hardware donated the remainder of equipment needed for the projects.
“Almost all of the jobs were completed. The ones that I have seen did tremendous work,” Ellis said. “Everyone really came together and accomplished projects for these non-profits that really needed their help.”
Flesher said the group had finished most of the projects by 2:30 p.m. Friday with Toy Shop and Prairie House being the last to be completed.