Rotarians and students join forces to revitalize local park on 9/11 anniversaryOct 12, 2023 12:54PM ● By Shaun Delliskave
In a display of community spirit, the Murray Rotary Club and Murray High School Interact service club joined forces for a service project at the Jordan River Parkway. The initiative was organized in conjunction with the National Day of Service, which is observed on the anniversary of 9/11. Bruce Holyoak, superintendent of the Murray Parks Department, chose the location, describing the need for painting a lengthy stretch of fence just north of 5300 South.
“The District Governor of the 45 Utah Rotary Clubs suggested that clubs should do something special for the National Day of Service,” Jim Wilcox, community service chair of Murray Rotary, who was in charge of the project said. “That’s why we chose to coordinate with Murray High Interact to paint the fence at Jordan River Parkway.”
The Murray Parks Department provided the materials, including paint, rollers, brushes and pans. In turn, volunteers from both clubs and the community were mobilized for the effort. “We thank the Murray Parks Department for providing the necessary materials. Our volunteers were ready and excited to contribute,” Wilcox said.
The service project was an extension of an annual tradition. “Every school year, Murray Rotary and Murray High School Interact club undertake a project that the Parks Department requests. Over the past three years, we’ve focused on cleaning trash from banks of different streams in Murray, including trash from abandoned homeless camps,” Susan Banks, Interact faculty advisor at Murray High School said.
JustServe.org, a platform for recruiting volunteers,
played a significant role in the event’s success. “We usually get local volunteers through JustServe.org for our monthly projects. Their involvement greatly enhances the impact of our service,” Wilcox said. The Jordan River Commission also promoted the project.
“Murray Rotary uses JustServe.org to get local volunteers to help with most of our monthly projects. Individuals, families and youth groups volunteer through JustServe.org and greatly increase the impact of the service we organize. The Jordan River Parkway belongs to the entire valley. Some years ago, the 13 Rotary clubs in the valley spearheaded the last bridge over the Jordan River. The Jordan River Commission found out about our Sept. 9 project and promoted it,” Murray Rotary Club President Jerry Summerhays said.
Approximately 80-85 volunteers participated in the project. “We had 13 Rotarians, 45-50 Interactors, and 20 JustServe volunteers. Everyone was tasked with either scraping, rolling or brushing the fence. We finished all 132 sections of the fence in just two hours,” Jill Cox, president of MHS Interact Club said. “The paint for the tables arrived late, so some Interact students stayed an extra hour to complete that task.”
Despite the significant planning, the event was not without challenges. “Managing the logistics of painting 132 sections of fence and 13 tables and benches can get complex,” Wilcox said. “However, our volunteers were resilient, making quick trips to fetch more scrapers and adapting when the table paint arrived late.”
Wilcox hopes that such events strengthen community bonds. “I personally believe that participating in an event like this creates a stronger bond to the community and fosters a desire to make it a better place to live.”
Summerhays summed up the sentiment of the day, saying, “Murray is a great place to live because we have excellent government servants and so many citizens give back.”
He also encouraged people to volunteer for their next project on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 9-11 a.m., focusing on cleaning up interstate interchanges in Murray. “We thank UDOT for providing bags and safety vests and for removing the trash,” Summerhays said.
For those interested in joining future endeavors, information is available at MurrayRotaryUtah.com, and the club holds twice-monthly meetings that are open to the community.