Saturday was a day of action for many volunteers in the region as dozens heeded a presidential call.
At Crawford House in downtown Colorado Springs, a troop of volunteers spent hours cleaning, replacing flooring and painting up the place that is home to veterans programs.
“It’s a huge change,” said organizer Steve Kjonaas, 51. “People brought a whole bunch of skills.”
Crawford House offers programs for veterans dealing with substance abuse and homelessness. Over several hours, one office was repainted, new vanities were installed in some bathrooms, and new flooring was set down in three rooms. A storage shed was cleared out and organized.
“I’m just overwhelmed, overjoyed and very grateful,” said Vicky Pettis, Crawford House program director.
Another project in Black Forest also had a military focus. A team led by Tony Wolusky, 54, packed a pile care packages to be shipped to troops serving in Afghanistan.
Wolusky and Kjonaas organized the pair of projects as part of the National Day of Service.
Volunteers across the country gave time Saturday. Projects helped out the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, ARC Thrift Stores and the Marian House soup kitchen.
In 2009, President Barack Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama started the tradition of holding a service day the weekend before the inauguration. The concept has been around even longer, as Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday a day of service in 1994.
“It’s a way to keep volunteers helping,” Wolusky said. “It’s not a political thing.”
Several of the volunteers picked Crawford House as their project because they weren’t familiar with it.
“We’re happy to be of service,” said volunteer Susan Pattee, 50. Her family regularly contributes time to projects and organizations around the area.
A few veterans at Crawford House praised the programs, and the volunteers
Volunteers said the work showed individuals can make a difference.
“I believe this is a phenomenal country,” said volunteer Connee Lloyd. “It provides you with the freedom to do some amazing things.”