SWEETWATER COUNTY – Communities big and small all have agencies and residents who need that extra hand in today’s society. For 18 years, these folks have been able to reach out for that hand during the annual United Way Helping Hands Day.
On Saturday, volunteers from all aspects of life went to several locations to participate in this event. Helping Hands Day began as a way to show you how your “hands on” volunteer work can make a difference in just one day. Hundreds of volunteers complete submitted projects that range from various cleaning and yard work for seniors and disabled persons, as well as repairing a fence and installing cabinets for local non-profit groups.
The Chairman of the Helping Hands Committee Jeff Homan has been involved in the event for all of its 18 years. He explained they started planning the event and going through project requests in March. Project requests come from several places including friends, neighbors and individuals to name just a few.
“A lot of people need a little help in the community and they can’t get out and do it,” Homan said. “It gives you happiness, happy to know you could help. We mobilize a hundred people on this day and i’m sure they all go home with a great satisfaction.”
Through United Way’s partnership with Home Depot’s Framing Hope Project and other donations many supplies may be available free of charge. Homan explained volunteers can learn a lot due to all the different expertise others have at a project. He also added the United Way can plan ahead for the upcoming year.
For Leo Gray, this was his first time participating in Helping Hands Day. Giving back was Gray’s motivation. As a member of the Jim Bridger Power Plant team, he lent his hand helping to repair the YWCA Support and Safe House.
“I have been fortunate and want to reach out to those in need,” Gray said. “I think everyone should reach out to those less fortunate in the community.”
Gray added his eyes have really been opened on what non-profit organizations as well as volunteer events can really accomplish in a community.
In Green River, painting a house became a family event for the Petersons. Jon Peterson and his family came together to work as part of the TaTa Chemical team, He echoed the thought of Gray saying he has been lucky to be fortunate and was giving back to the less fortunate in the community.
“There are plenty of people in our community who need a helping hand,” he said. “I have no trouble helping people in need.”
Sitting by Jon with paintbrushes in hand was his wife, daughter and son. Jon said he involved his children to teach them about service and helping people in need in the community.
Ten-year old AJ Peterson was enjoying his painting experience.
“It teaches me that working for someone else who needs it is good,” the young Peterson said. “It is really cool and a lot of fun to be here with my family.”