AmeriCorp volunteers clear the way on Armstrong Trail
By Brigid Beatty
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
KITTANNING – Seven trailblazers from around the country are lending a hand this week along sections of area trails.
Ranging in age from 18 to 24, the high school graduates and college students have been busy clearing debris and vegetation from sections of the Armstrong Trail.
As members of AmeriCorps working on an Appalachian Coal Country team, they have become adept at pitching in to help out with projects in rural communities throughout the Atlantic region.
Dan Clesowich of Connecticut is the group's team leader.
He said the group, called the Raven 5 team, has worked together on projects for 10 months and this is in the fourth and final project round.
Members have been staying at the Kittanning Grace Brethren Church retreat center since their arrival on Friday, said Clesowich.
On Monday, the seven young people worked all morning along the trail by Lock and Dam 8 in Mosgrove before heading over to clear portions of trail along Indiana Avenue in Kittanning.
“I enjoy physical projects like this,” said Clesowich.
He and Oliver Dougherty of Minnesota said that dealing with poison ivy presented a challenge.
Thane Clamann of Texas said projects can last as long as eight weeks or they can be shorter, like the one they are currently involved in here in Armstrong County.
Their involvement helps provide much needed labor for organizations like the Allegheny Valley Land Trust.
“It frees up members of AVLT like Ron (Steffey) to help him get the job done faster,” said Dougherty, adding that the group cleared ½ mile of trail within three hours.
“A lot of us have never worked a physical job before,” said Alexandra Ogilvie, of Utah. “It's very demanding but we can feel ourselves getting stronger.”
She said she has learned to use a backhoe since arriving in the area.
Chelsea Pennucci, of New York, said working on projects like the one they are doing right now gives them a chance to learn how to operate a lot of equipment such as backhoes and jackhammers.
Steffey, executive director of AVLT, said the team members are all cooperative, polite, enthusiastic hard workers.
“This is a top shelf crew,” he said. “They are willing to do anything. Nothing is too hard for them.”
The ACCT is a non-profit organization which helps connect federal agencies and rural communities, providing those communities with trained volunteer support.
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.