Annual Volunteer Day slated for Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Randy Lilly got the ball rolling, but now it is up to the community to run with that momentum to beautify Ironton.

The fifth-annual Ironton Volunteer Day begins at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Riverfront Park at the boat ramp. Volunteers will be planting flowers and trees, mulching and picking up trash across the city.

Lilly organized the event in 2000 to create a positive image within the city during a time when hundreds of jobs had been lost.

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"This is just to make our community a better place to live," Lilly said. "To do that, each person must pitch in and be a positive force within the community."

During the past four years, volunteers have planted thousands of flowers, shrubs, trees and cleaned up the city's parks. More than 150 people participated last year, but the sights are set even higher this year.

Organizers hope that Mother Nature cooperates this weekend and are putting out the call for more volunteers to show up at the boat ramp with work gloves, brooms and a community spirit.

So far, approximately 100 people have signed up, but Lilly said he expects at least 50 or more surprise visits. Organizations including the Ironton Junior High Kids Care Club, Ironton High School Honor Society and Ironton Lions club plan to participate.

Lilly encourages volunteers to let him know in advance, but emphasized that everyone is welcome to participate Saturday. Anyone who would like to volunteer may contact Lilly at 532-0010 or e-mail at

Mayor John Elam said he looks forward to the annual spring event that can really help bring the city and its residents together.

"It is very important for the community to be active because it encourages civic pride and community involvement when we are working towards one common goal," Elam said. "To me, it shows how much we can get accomplished when we are all working in the same direction."

As always, groups will divide into teams and tackle certain areas such as downtown, the city entrances, the riverfront and more. Volunteers will plant perennial flowers such as lilies, phlock, geraniums, verbena

and marigolds.

Volunteers will also plant 19 Cleveland pear trees - many in areas that have not been addressed before such as the area around Big Lots and one side of the bridge.

"We are planting in areas that we have not planted in the past," Lilly said. "Given a little time, these will be beautiful."

Event organizers are to be commended for their efforts to make the event such a success year after year, Mayor Elam said.

"It certainly goes without saying that Rich Mountain, Mike Corn and Randy Lilly have been the hub for this community event for the past several years," Elam said. "Their vision has helped Ironton Volunteer Day to be an event that is looked forward to and anticipated by the residents."

Tom and Nancy Lewis have been regulars at the event for the past few years. If at goes well, they will be back for another year Saturday.

Certainly a worthwhile project, Tom Lewis said he is always impressed with the amount of community spirit that is evident.

"I like that the youth get involved," Lewis said. "I think that says a lot about our community. The high school, Boy Scouts and Church youth groups all want to see our city beautified, too."