On September 10 of last year President Obama amended the Patriot Day Proclamation to officially and permanently make 9/11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance as a way for Americans and others to remember the victims, survivors, volunteers and heroes of September 11, 2001.
Locally, HandsOn Jacksonville mobilized hundreds of volunteers in a variety of community projects.
Here are some of the highlights:
Project leader, Celeste Ayers led more than 50 people in a beach clean up. Something as serious as the Deepwater Oil Spill across our state really drives home the importance of appreciating and keeping our coastal areas clean and beautiful. Celeste, who has led many of our beach cleanups reports that this was the largest turnout she’s ever seen. She was touched by the great sense of pride the team felt in the work they did and reports the highlight of the morning was when the team gathered together to say a prayer for the troops serving overseas and for the families of those who died in the 9/11 attacks.
Jacksonville University students rallied around three service projects. One team of nineteen led by project leader Angie Greene met at City Rescue Mission to sort clothing, shoes, bed linen, toys, belts, ties and trinkets for the thrift store.
The women especially had fun observing the group of guys tackling the daunting task of matching the ladies’ shoes. (Kudos for your efforts, guys!) Though the work was fun, the impact is quite serious. Every item that sells in the thrift store provides a meal or education for a homeless person.
The efforts of this group mean that one more person will not go hungry or naked and a person who needs rehabilitation from drugs or alcohol will receive help with no strings attached. Angie’s hope is that “for every life lost on 9/11 nine years ago, City Rescue Mission, through the help of volunteers will save a life – from hopelessness, drugs, alcohol or homelessness”.
Lauren Zuzolo was super-excited to do her part on Remembrance Day. She led more than 28 Jacksonville University students, three peer scholars and two faculty members in a trail-blazing project at the Jacksonville Arboretum and Gardens. The team blazed trails, weeded, dug up roots and cut wood and trees. With the motto “We are blazing trails – you are in control of your future” the group enjoyed a morning working and bonding as a team. A memorable part of the day was when everyone took their turn on chopping down a tree and then into smaller pieces.
We thank all of our project leaders and community volunteers for answering the call to service and honoring the victims, survivors, volunteers and heroes in such tangible and meaningful ways!