Showing reverence for the victims of 9-11 with their sweat and energy, hundreds of volunteers showed up from Indianola to Gunnison last Saturday, on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attack, to participate in the National Day of Service.
Donning gloves and hats, and carrying tools and orange trash bags, residents reported to city halls throughout Sanpete County to go to work.
Some groups opted to clean up the hillsides and roadside shoulders adjacent to U.S. 89, while other groups tackled overgrown creeks, parks and even the Manti-Ephraim airport.
UDOT and CentraCom supplied trash bags, safety vests and roadway cones for the road cleanup. Volunteers the length of the county stuffed hundreds of the trash bags, which were picked up by UDOT crews on Monday.
“The best part of this day was to watch people, many of whom I had never met before, come together and work shoulder to shoulder,” said Maria Ricks of Fairview.
Liz Shartori seemed to have a good time as she joined the Fairview-Indianola group in picking up trash for two hours along a hillside on U.S. 89.
“I’m 80 years old and have had six joint replacements,” she said. “But I’m out here. ‘Use it or lose it,’ is what I say.”
Manti High counselor Kris Pogroszewski organized a group of Sterling Scholars and Upward Bound students to clean up a 2-mile section of U.S. 89 near Ephraim.
“I am glad to have participated,” she said. “It was nice to do something that left you with a positive feeling.”
In Mt. Pleasant Mayor Michael Olsen and Councilman Justin Atkinson led residents to the corner of 700 South and State Street, where they confronted a formidable stand of weeds, some taller than the people attacking them.
In Fountain Green, Jeff Walker led several volunteers clearing encroaching weeds from sidewalks and gutters along S.R. 132 in the center of town. The city provided a loader where volunteers dumped their waste.
Just outside Moroni, Katy Hilton supervised an enthusiastic crew consisting of Spencer Bradley, Alana Bradley, Jasmine Ramirez-Hernandez and Mariah Papenfuss and others, who stuffed roadside trash into large orange bags. Closer to town, other crews did the same.
A little later, a large group of volunteers gathered at Moroni City Hall to listen to Police Chief, Bob Hill, who thanked them and told of his service during his 25-year career in the U.S. Army.
Mark Baldwin, an LDS leader from Mt. Pleasant, coordinated activities in the northern section of the county from Mt. Pleasant to Indianola.
An estimated 120 people showed up with gloves, tools and vehicles ready to work. One group cleared out debris and trimmed overgrown trees from a section of the Sanpitch Creek in Fairview. They ultimately hauled away multiple trailers filled with tree branches.
The other group spread out along a 20-mile stretch and cleaned U.S. 89, Baldwin said.
Further south in Ephraim, the Snow College contingency showed a lot of Badger pride. Members of the Snow College women’s basketball team pulled weeds at Canyon View Park in Ephraim.
Volunteer from AmeriCorps and Snow Ambassadors worked shoulder to shoulder to collect trash along U.S. 89 from the Manti-Ephraim Airport to Ephraim.
About 40 students from two Snow College LDS wards lined both sides of West Side Road, the highway between Wales and Fountain Green, armed with heavy gloves and orange trash bags. One of the leaders was Kaden Bailey, a Snow student from Herriman.
Manti High School students did their fair share as well. The group led by Pogroszewski filled 10 bags of garbage in two hours of work.
In Gunnison, the Lions Club was in charge of organizing a cleanup project along S.R. 28 between Gunnison and Fayette, said Gunnison Mayor Lori Nay. More than a dozen volunteers turned out and collected a bunch of bags of trash in two hours, she said.
There was a positive spirit of comradery and accomplishment after the project was completed, Nay said.
Preparations for the Day of Service in Sanpete County started months ago via Zoom meetings. Participants in the planning included city and county officials, religious groups and business leaders. Coordinators then posted info on JustServe.org (a website listing volunteer opportunities), notified the Sheriff’s Office of their plans, and provided a brief safety video for participants.