Volunteers show they care on Day of Caring

STEUBENVILLE – The team from Trinity Health System didn’t waste any time Thursday morning reaching for the ivy that covered the rear exterior wall of the YWCA.

As soon as United Way of Jefferson County Executive Director Beth Rupert-Warren told the group of volunteers to, “get going,” Keith Murdock led his group of four volunteers to the work site.

“Our job is to clean off this ivy and make this wall look clean again,” said Murdock, and his band of hospital officials used rakes and poles to pull the ivy that had grown thick on the wooden siding.

“Watch, there is a cable of some sort behind the ivy at this corner,” warned Dave Nicholson of Trinity Health System.

Several hours later the project was complete and the Trinity team returned to jobs at the hospital.

Approximately 110 volunteers showed up Thursday morning for a breakfast at the YWCA and were then sent to various locations in the county to pull ivy in Steubenville, replenish mulch around trees on Main Street in Bergholz, wash and wax Head Start buses in Wintersville, help with a food distribution at the WEBA Food Pantry in Amsterdam and paint yellow lines on curbs in Mingo Junction.

Several members of the Steubenville High School Key Club met with with other high school students and Jefferson County Community Action Council employees to spend the day scraping and then painting the underpass near Harding Stadium.

“Our Key Club adviser Ross Ivkovich asked us if we wanted to help. We have never done this before so yes, we wanted to help do something for the community today,” explained Niko Petrides.

And the very tall Petrides was soon put to work scraping the ceiling of the underpass.

All of the high school students drew attention and praise from Rupert-Warren who thanked the youth of Jefferson County for participating in the Day of Caring.

“Any time you see this many young people at an event like this, it is a great day in Jefferson County. It shows our youth care about our community and are willing to help others. To see so many young people involved today is absolutely amazing,” Rupert-Warren said.

The head of the United Way of Jefferson County wanted to pass the 100 volunteers mark this year and Rupert-Warren was clearly pleased with the results.

“Now I hope we have twice as many people next year. We are also discussing the idea of a Family Day of Caring on a Saturday so we can have family teams working together next year,” she noted.

“As long as I have been doing this I have never seen this room so full for our Day of Caring. This is the epitome of paying forward. We have set a large goal of $440,000 for this year’s campaign and I have every confidence we will meet that goal and exceed it. Let’s all go out and help someone today,” announced 2014 United Way of Jefferson County Campaign Chairman Tony Mougianis.

Mougianis joined with his Apollo Cleaning team at his headquarters in Wintersville to wash, wax and detail Head Start buses.

Ashly Short, the local branch manager for Enterprise Rent-A-Car, moved to the area earlier this year and immediately volunteered for the Day of Caring.

“I get to play with mulch in Bergholz. I have never been there before and I am looking forward to spreading some mulch and seeing the village,” she said.

Dr. Greg McDonnell and his wife Amy were sent to the former Independent Order of Odd Fellows building on North Fourth Street to mop, sweep and wash walls and floors for a future rehabilitation project.

“We wanted to be involved today and now we get to help to do something to help restore this historical building,” said Amy.

“I haven’t used a broom for awhile but I still have the hang of it,” laughed her husband.

A team of Mingo Junction officials under the supervision of Sophie Schoolcraft worked with volunteers from the FirstEnergy W.H. Sammis plant to spruce up downtown Mingo Junction and apply yellow paint on the curbs at intersecting streets.

And five members of the Steubenville Rotary Club grabbed plastic garbage bags and started picking up litter on Washington, Third, Adams and Fourth streets in downtown Steubenville Thursday morning.

(Gossett can be contacted at dgossett@heraldstaronline.com.)