By Daniel Thompson
Reporter 

AmeriCorps volunteer team helps at High Point Welcome Center, teaming up with Keep Kimball Beautiful for the week

 

Daniel Thompson

A member of the AmeriCorps team lends a helping hand at the Kimball Reycling Center on Monday morning.

An AmeriCorps crew arrived in Kimball this past week in order to aid Keep Kimball Beautiful in several projects throughout the city with the hopes of helping to improve the curb appeal in order to attract visitors to the region.

AmeriCorps crew Cedar One, led by Hannah Davis of Alpine, Texas, arrived in Kimball July 17, and immediately got to work cleaning up the property that houses the new High Point Welcome Center, according to Cedar One member Zack Hall.

“We cleaned up the welcome center to try to help bring tourism and things like that back through this area. We pretty much cleaned up their parking lot and spent three or four days doing that. We pulled out all the weeds coming through the sidewalk. It was a lot of weed pulling,” Hall said.

The crew also plans to aid the Plains Historical Society with revamping the appearance of the old High School property, according to Davis.

“We’re going to paint the big fence around the building and do some basic cleaning inside,” Davis said.

The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps of which Cedar One is a part of is a ten-month service program for young adults from the ages of 18 to 24 who are given an opportunity to travel across the nation to aid in recovery and beautification efforts.

“We work with different non-profits in energy conservation, urban/rural development, environmental stewardship and disaster relief. There’s five campuses across the U.S., and we’re based out of Vinton, Iowa. We just travel around working with different nonprofits and government agencies,” Davis said.

Though the work is strenuous and tedious at times, Davis says that it also proves to be very rewarding when considering how their efforts affect the populace of the towns they visit.

“It’s awesome. This is my second year. I was a corps member last year. One of my favorite projects was working in shelters after Hurricane Sandy. That was very gratifying working with people who had just lost everything, comforting them, and just showing that we were there for them,” Davis said.

However, after putting forth so much effort into the betterment of the community, the result can be fairly bittersweet for the corps members as they do not always get to stay long enough to see the long term effects their work has on a community, according to Hall.


“Our first project was Minot, North Dakota. They had a flood back in 2011, and we drove to all of the houses and delivered supplies to different people from the recovery warehouse up there. Being there that long, we got to see some of our longterm effects take place and see how the people reacted.

Sometimes we just have to take it on faith that what we’re doing is good for everything else. We may not get to see it, but we know it’s going to happen,” Hall said.

However, the group seems to find ways to keep themselves from getting worn down and tired with the same routines day after day even going so far as to even sing songs while spraying garlic mustard all day in their last round of work to aid in invasive species removal.

“One of the things we did while spraying the garlic mustard was sing our favorite Disney songs. You do things after a while to help pass the time. But we get it done,” Hall said.

Though the Cedar One team has travelled quite a bit this past year, the visit to Kimball marks their first trip to the state of Nebraska. According to Davis, the group was pleasantly surprised by the environment and the kindness of the residents they’ve encountered.

“It’s a cute little town. Everyone’s so nice, and I’m glad we’re here. None of us had ever been to Nebraska before so it’s a nice change of scenery,” Davis said.

Hall echoed Davis’ sentiment when asked about his time in Kimball.

“I come from a town that’s smaller than this anyway so you guys have things here that I’ve never seen. I come from a smaller area so it’s kind of comfortable for me,” Hall said. “It’s my kind of town. I like it a lot.”

The Cedar One crew consists of Zack Hall, Hannah Davis, Jay Newman of Coushatta, LA, Max Krohe of State College, PA, Calvin Lockhart of Washington, D.C., Gina Rosenau of Washington, DC, and Lis LaFreniere of Concord, NH. The crew plans to stay in Kimball helping with different projects until July 31.

Anyone interested in learning more about the AmeriCorps NCCC program can visit their website at http://www.nationalservice.gov/nccc.

 

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