After hearing about a horrible act of vandalism in a neighboring community, I contacted a local community leader and offered some resources we have to help with the cleanup and restoration of the two residences impacted. In four days, event coordinators got resources donated from the local Home Depot at Princess Anne and Lynnhaven Parkway in Virginia Beach. I worked with them to secure resources and equipment from the Virginia Beach Clean Community Helping Hands Program to assist in the effort. I shared with Pieri Burton and James Cohen, the event coordinators, and Steve Batton, local radio host, our experiences with large groups of volunteers at events and helped them determine what logistical support they needed.
The event was scheduled for Saturday, July 18th from 10 AM – 2 PM. The evening before, I shared with our granddaughters Chloe, age 8 and Claire, Age 3 ½ that I would be helping with supplies and other things for the effort. They both have volunteered for me in the past and I was impressed when they offered to help. They both got up early in the morning, got breakfast and dressed and helped me load equipment into our truck for the event. From the TV and radio coverage, there was a possibility for a large turn out. Even Home Depot gathered associates to volunteer for the project. What a benefit, they were able to call the store directly and have supplies waiting.
Indeed there was a large turnout. Our team took assessment of the needs and unloaded the first truck of donated supplies from Home Depot. I took a young man with me to get more equipment from the Virginia Beach Clean Community storage facility after we had a better idea of what was needed. Our girls got to work quickly, cleaning graffiti, moving branches, clearing rocks and helping with gardening. They were the subject of several video pieces in three pieces of local news coverage. What continued for over five hours was, in a word, amazing. Chloe and Claire worked tirelessly alongside adults who were so impressed with them and watched over them.
Since we had an appointment for them in the afternoon and it took over 30 minutes to get them into the truck. Each one had, “just something more to do Grandpa”.
The final result was impressive, houses cleaned, over 100 feet of fencing replaced, doors replaced, gates built, decks washed and no less than three flowerbeds planted. Over 100 people came out with 65 registering to do this selfless act of love and community. People from all walks of life and from 3 to 70 years old came out…
Our girls were jazzed and tired, but inspired to help and do more. So, what did you do with your kids this weekend?
Guest blog submitted by Dan Baxter, Chairman Virginia Beach Clean Community Commission and Business Recycling Coordinator City of Newport News