Spring Clean-Up Day helps seniors

By Annie Gentile - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Thu., May. 2, 2013
(Front to back) Devin Gilbert (driving the tractor), Hunter Davis and Troy Luchon, all members of the JV baseball team at Stafford High School, volunteered their time to help seniors get their yards cleared on Spring Clean-up Day. Photos by Annie Gentile.
(Front to back) Devin Gilbert (driving the tractor), Hunter Davis and Troy Luchon, all members of the JV baseball team at Stafford High School, volunteered their time to help seniors get their yards cleared on Spring Clean-up Day. Photos by Annie Gentile.

It was a belated Earth Day celebration, on Saturday morning, April 27, as volunteers from across town converged on 23 senior and disabled residents’ homes to take care of some much-needed spring clean-up. Fifty-two volunteers - including members from the Stafford High School boys’ varsity and junior varsity baseball teams, high school track and field team members, the Republican Town Committee and individual residents - gave up a portion of their day to rake leaves, pick up sticks, and spruce up front, back and side yards to ready them for the mowing season.

“This is our second year doing this,” said Tracy Rummel, social services assistant with the town of Stafford. “The clean-up was sparked by last year’s October storm, and we thought it was so successful, we should do it again.” She said last year volunteers met in the morning at Town Hall to get their assignments, but this year the gathering was moved up the road to the Community Center. “A lot of the volunteers must have met at Town Hall again and I was a little worried when there weren’t a lot of volunteers - until all of a sudden they all arrived at once. It was like the cavalry coming in,” said Rummel.

Rummel also credited area businesses including the Big Y Supermarket and TTM for donating snacks and trash bags for the clean-up, and Village Springs of Willington for donating water bottles for workers. “The town also provided volunteers with transfer station passes for bringing items down,” she said.

“I was waiting all year for the announcement for this to show up in the Reminder,” said Village Hill Road resident Barbara Duquette, who signed up to have her yard cleaned last year as well. “I had a lot of branches come down this year and last year too, and I had some shoulder surgery, so this clean-up has been positively wonderful for me,” she said.  “My husband used to take care of this when he was alive, but this is my first time without him. I recommended this to my sister, who also lives in town, so she could get some help, too.”

It was also George Henderson’s second year to take advantage of the spring clean-up day. “The top half of a tree broke off during the hurricane last year, and the wet snow and storms over this past winter brought down a lot of branches that are too big for the lawnmower to go over, so this is a big help,” he said. He appeared to enjoy sitting outside watching the young crew of workers take care of the clean-up.

“We just wanted to do something to help the community and pay them back a little for all they do for us,’ said Devin Gilbert, a member of the JV baseball team who was working with a crew at Henderson’s home.

His sentiments were reiterated by assistant varsity coach Matt McCloskey, who was working alongside the team. “Sometimes doing something like this instead of a practice can be just as beneficial. You just always want to help to give back to the community that supports you,” he said.


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