LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -Hundreds of volunteers heeded the call to give back during the United Way's annual David Hegwood Day of Caring.
They started with breakfast at Great Plains Technology Center before spreading out across Lawton to work on projects at a number of non-profit organizations. Those projects ranged from cutting grass to breaking down boxes and painting.
Some of volunteers came in groups representing various local businesses, others showed up alone. All in all, they say it was worth taking a day off to participate in a worthy cause.
Charles Alvarez was part of a two-man team that helped repaint the walls inside the food pantry at the Lawton Food Bank. He says he has a lot of reasons to give back to his community.
"Since I lost my wife, I've lost a lot of interest, but that turned around and I've got grandkids to look forward to. I figured I'd do it for them and the community. It's been a blessing to me and I'm still here for a reason, so I must be doing something right," Alvarez said.
It's that attitude that keeps the Goodyear truck driver and grandfather of eight volunteering year after year. He says it's much different than his day job.
"You sweat for one thing. Compared to what I do, I'm inside the air conditioning and this is a big difference, but then again, I love doing this. I just enjoy it," he said.
Alvarez says despite the physical challenges, he gives it his all. He says in 10 years of volunteering, he's seen the project grow, and it brings him joy.
"I've meet a lot of new people and some of the old ones are still coming around. That makes me feel good that there are people still out there that cares," Alvarez said.
Sandros Phillips says he felt that love first hand Friday. He works at the Armed Services YMCA soldier's closet. Several months ago, he and another employee started cleaning out the storage shed and with the help of volunteers Friday, they finally got it done.
"Well, just to clean out a shed it takes us a week to two weeks because we only work four days. Right now, we have about nine people, nine people in a shed all at once. It helps a lot," Phillips said.
Phillips says days like this makes him believe there's still some good in the world.
"Some people may not see it, they're helping two people cut their work off. But, really it's helping us be able to help more soldiers and families. So, its building blocks that they're adding the foundation to us pretty much," Phillips said.
More than 300 volunteers took part in the Day of Caring. It's actually a national event, but the Lawton United Way branch renamed it in honor of David Hegwood who was a devoted volunteer. Hegwood passed away nearly two years ago.