Organizers needs help for Volunteer Day#8217;s seventh year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

If you’ve strolled down a clean city during a recent Ironton summer, you probably have Randy Lilly and his army of volunteers to thank.

Lilly is organizing the seventh annual Volunteer Day in the city, an event that he created not just to keep the city spic ‘n’ span, and instill a sense of pride in its residents.

“The concept really came up when we lost about 1,200 jobs in the city within about an 18 month period,” Lilly said. “I thought the city needed a little something to develop a little pride in itself, and try to get the people motivated.”

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Since then, the event has continued to grow. Lilly said that attendance has peaked at around 350 people before, but usually averages out to around 200 cleaning up the city.

This year’s Volunteer Day is slated for May 6. Cleanup crews will meet at 9 a.m. on that day, at the corner of Second and Center streets.

The date, Lilly said, isn’t arbitrary, but specifically designed to coincide with some key downtown events.

“It has the city looking good for the Memorial Day parade, and of course now for the Gus Macker (3-on-3 Basketball Tournament),” Lilly said. “We’re two weeks ahead of the Macker. The theory is that the businesses will take care of the area in front of their businesses after we’ve redone it, and that individuals will be less likely to throw stuff out of their car windows too.”

In addition to straightening up the downtown, volunteers will also spend some quality time improving the city entrances.

In previous years, teams have also planted flowers and some trees, but Lilly said that would be less of a focus for this year’s event.

“We usually plant a lot of flowers, but we’ve about got the downtown planted with daylilies, which come back year after year,” Lilly said.

However, an abundance of flora doesn’t mean that volunteers will be spared getting their hands dirty. Lilly said that he hopes that the effects of the cleanup will more far-reaching than just providing clean streets.

“Hopefully, if you get the school kids involved, when they get to be teenagers they’re not throwing stuff out the window,” Lilly said. “They say ‘Hey, I just picked this up the other day.’”

The day’s activities close at around 12 p.m. with a pizza lunch for volunteers. And, Lilly guaranteed, volunteers always throw their plates and boxes away.

Those who’d be interested in helping Lilly cleanup the city (and help him eat his pizza) can reach him at (740) 532-0010 or organizer Mike Corn at (740) 533-2676. Lilly is also looking for donations to help keep the event running.