LAWTON, Okla._Volunteers from several Lawton businesses got out of the office and into the community for the annual United Way of Southwest Oklahoma Day of Caring.
About 200 volunteers took part in 19 projects, which included painting, heavy lifting and even spring cleaning. The local United Way branch has held this event for 21 years. Their goal is to promote volunteerism by showing how the work of citizens can impact the community.
All the projects were for non-profit organizations, which do a lot for the community, but can only exist with the help of volunteers. So, a day like this is obviously a big help to them, but for some of the veteran volunteers seeing the real impact it's had on the community year after year is what keeps them coming back.
Lindsay Roman and her coworkers from Arvest Bank had some fun listening to music and painting at the Boys and Girls Club. Roman has been participating in the Day of Caring for seven years, and even though she enjoys the event, she says her favorite part is actually afterward.
"It's nice to get out and do something that actually makes a difference. And we've done many tours here at the Boys and Girls Club and you can just see what a difference it makes for the kids," said Roman.
She's hopeful painting brightly colored murals and benches will brighten the day of the children who see the club as home.
"It's not just some drab place, it's bright and cheery and somewhere fun for them to come," said Roman.
Gregory Hinton, the athletic director of the Boys and Girls Club, was doing some heavy lifting at the Salvation Army with a different group he leads. Hinton, who is also the owner of the Lawton Hellcats semi-pro football team, wants his players to set what he says is a much-needed good example for the youth of Lawton.
"There's a lot of negative things in the community, so we figured that we could come in and show some positivity and just be mentors to the kids, so when they grow up they will be involved in the community as well," said Hinton.
Employees like Greg Ford of Hearts that Care Clinic understands the desperate need to inspire this next generation. Many local citizens would never get the care they need without the several local doctors who volunteer at the free clinic. But with their busy schedules, Ford says the clinic must prioritize caring for the patients over more tedious tasks like cleaning. So, volunteers from Fort Sill Federal Credit Union offered their help.
"Could we have done it ourselves? Absolutely. But if I can get help from anyone else so that we can do other things towards the clinic I'm going to ask. And we get great help from the community," said Ford.
Those were just a few examples of how volunteers helped out. Other projects ranged anywhere from building an awning, tiling a floor or even just picking up trash. So no matter your skill set, these non-profits appreciate whatever help they can get.