Volunteers visit four Connellsville sites to help spruce up

| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 6:12 p.m.

“Wet paint” signs could be seen throughout Connellsville on Thursday as almost 30 volunteers took part in the United Way of Westmoreland County's Day of Caring.

The Day of Caring brings volunteers to nonprofit organizations for one full day of work.

“This work that they are doing is important to us,” said Marilyn Weaver of the Wesley Health Center. Volunteers from UPS in New Stanton painted the porch, steps and railing of the facility.

“We run solely on donations and grants, and I think that the volunteers' efforts here today are wonderful,” Weaver said.

“This is just great,” said Chip Rowan, Connellsville Community Ministries director, as he watched volunteers paint the interior of the West Crawford Avenue building. The volunteers were from West Penn Power and Hewlett Packard.

“We are finally starting to see some headway here. All the painting that they are doing for us is such a help and is really going to make a difference,” Rowan said.

Pittsburgh Paint donated the paints.

Volunteers visited four sites in Connellsville. In addition to the Wesley Health Center and Community Ministries, volunteers could be found at the Connellsville Community Center and the Carnegie Free Library.

“We are so excited about our Day of Caring this year,” said Jackie Johns, United Way of Westmoreland County campaign and marketing coordinator. “We have a total of 600 volunteers going to 70 different sites today. That is a lot of people who are willing to volunteer to help out in the communities. The nonprofits are able to get projects done, and the volunteers get to go out into the community for a day of giving their time, so it's a win-win for everyone involved.”

Greg Behe from West Penn Power was busy painting walls at the Connellsville Ministries building. He said he enjoys volunteering.

“It's a good way to help, and it's for the betterment of the communities,” Behe said. “I like doing it.”

UPS worker Jerad Fox of Connellsville said he has helped on the Day of Caring in the past and was particularly excited to be helping right in his own community.

“I drive by here every day,” Fox said as he painted the railing of the Wesley Health Center on South Pittsburgh Street. “Now when I drive by, I can tell my daughter that I helped to make this happen.”

Fox said he enjoys being able to help no matter where the projects are located.

“This is a nice way to give back, and it doesn't matter where they send us,” Fox said.

Fellow UPS worker Steve Bell, also from Connellsville, also enjoys volunteer work. He was happy to volunteer in his hometown.

Workers from the New Stanton Eat N' Park painted trim and walls on the third floor of the Connellsville Community Center.

“This is a nice way to help out,” Breana Walko of New Stanton said.

“Everyone has been nice and they are even giving us lunch,” said Marissa Jones of Mt. Pleasant. She was at the community center.

A group of workers from area PNC banks were at the Carnegie Free Library, painting, sorting books for the book sale and working on craft projects to be used for displays.

“We had them here last year, and I love having the help,” said library Director Casey Sirochman. “We wouldn't be able to get the work done without them.”

Workers at the library painted the men's room, the outside entrance trim and the back offices.

“Giving back to the community is important,” Scott Bailey of Allison Park said. “Our region covers Murrysville from Somerset, and this is a great opportunity for us to help all those communities that we serve.”

“I enjoy the teamwork aspect of this,” Melissa Cramer from Latrobe said of the PNC employees who were toiling in the library.

“And the people here are so appreciative and nice,” said Heather Smitley of Mt. Pleasant, who was helping Cramer paint the outside trim of the entrance of the library. “People are stopping and thanking us and saying how nice it's going to look and what a difference it will make. These are very, very nice and appreciative people here.”

A group was also scheduled to paint over graffiti under the bridge near Yough River Park, but that work was postponed until October because of inclement weather.

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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