Volunteers pitch in to clean city

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

One after another, they sat on the sidewalk pulling out the weeds that had sprouted up in crevices and flowerbeds around parking meters and lampposts along Third Street.

It may not have been a typical way for young people to spend their Saturday but they seemed to enjoy it just the same.

“We’ve lived here in the community all our lives, and we just need to help clean it up,” Jennifer Vulhop said.

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She and friends Kelly Payne, Nick Davis and Jennifer Thornton, all members of the National Honor Society Society at Ironton High School, were among the volunteers who took part in Saturday’s annual Volunteer Day — pulling weeds, picking up trash and planting flowers, among other activities to spruce up the community.

The volunteer effort brought Mayor John Elam to his knees — literally — as he applied a layer of mulch to flower beds along Vernon Street.

“You only have one opportunity to make a first impression and we’re going to have a lot of visitors in town within the next couple of weeks,” he said. “I think people will be pleased with what they see. I think this (Volunteer Day) is great because it’s a community effort. And it seems like it grows every year.”

The effort did not go unnoticed by people who came downtown for other reasons.

Tracy Maggard, of Franklin Furnace, walked past IHS students on her way in to work at the Dollar General Store.

“I think it’s very good of the community,” she said. “It shows they can come together and clean up their neighborhood.”

Jamason Sparks, of Ashland, Ky., was on his way to work at Innovative Payment Solutions when he noticed the activity.

“At first I noticed the young ladies because I’m young, and I wondered what was going on,” he said. “But this is nice. It helps clean up the city.”

Randy Lilly, who began Volunteer Day years ago, said he was pleased with the effort.

“I wish we had more people get involved but those who came gave 110 percent,” he said. “Everyone did a tremendous job. I think it shows there is a lot of pride.”