There is no glory cleaning the rooms at the Ronald McDonald House of Southern Colorado.
But Meredy Brownstein volunteers four hours every other week at the house to do it. It's so the families, whose children are very ill, don't have to worry about such things, she said.
Brownstein and about 200 community volunteers and first responders were thanked for their work Saturday with a free train ride up Pikes Peak.
"Our community is what is because of what they give," said Donna Priester, past president of the Academy Optimist Club, who helped organize the annual "Gratitude Train," a free ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. "Today we have a chance with the Gratitude Train to say 'thank you.' "
The Academy Optimist Club and the Pikes Peak Cog Railway partner every year to offer the free rides to community volunteers, police officers and firefighters - at $35 a ticket that is a sponsorship worth $7,000. The two also partner in late November and throughout December on Saturday Santa Trains, which features "Santa and his Elves" on the train rides.
U.S. Air Force Academy cadet second-class Dylan Juedeman was one of the volunteer elves last holiday season and plans to volunteer again this year.
"We just had such a great time," said Juedeman, who got involved with the Optimist Club through the Academy's Arnold Air Society leadership group. He was among a half-dozen cadets invited to ride the train Saturday.
Jerry Tolve, who has lived in Colorado Springs for 38 years, was looking forward to his first ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. He showed up at the Ronald McDonald House three years ago to help out and has been there at least four hours every week, working in the front office, answering the door and helping with computers.
"I just like helping people," he said. "To help those babies who have such serious problems warms my heart."
Colorado Springs 13-year firefighter Jay Wallace said it's been a busy 18 months, with two massive wild fires and the recent floods. It's nice to spend the day with his wife and three children on the train, he said.
"It's what we work for - to know that people are happy with what we do," he said about the annual Gratitude Train.
Sometimes first-responders, including police and firefighters, are thanked by residents, said Colorado Springs police Sgt. Jim Jeffcoat, a 26-year member of the force.
"But sometimes you run into people who are ungrateful or worse," he said. "This is extremely refreshing."