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Community volunteers time for Heber Valley 9/11 Day of Service

Dozens of volunteers participated in Heber Valley’s third annual 9/11 Day of Service Sept. 9.

Under a sunny blue sky at Heber City’s Main Street Park, volunteers gathered for community service in honor of the lives lost on September 11, 2001. Coordinators Spud Beckham and Karen Atkin welcomed the crowd to the Day of Service.

“We’re hoping that we get about 500 service hours done today. How cool is that?” Beckham said, to cheers from the crowd.

Atkin said the event has grown in popularity every year.

“I just think it’s such a great way for us as a community to honor the people who died in 9/11 and to represent them, and to have a day of patriotism and a day of service,” Atkin said.

After a prayer and a flag ceremony, the volunteers dispersed to start work across town. Participants could choose from eight different service projects taking place that morning.

In the park, volunteer Mary Barger showed people how to weave recycled grocery bags into sleeping mats for those experiencing homelessness. The project was a favorite for community members of all ages.

"Our age range today is from 2 years old to over 80,” Barger said.

Young volunteers pitched in at the Heber Valley Hospital, too. Midway resident Jodi Deputy brought her 6-year-old twins out to help tend the flower beds and tug weeds.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to serve the community,” she said. “We’re weeding here at the hospital, which is also a great skill for them to learn. And so we decided to come out to teach them how to weed and… to help out, especially here at the hospital, so they understand what a hospital is and what it means to serve those at the hospital.”

And up in the mountains, a crowd of teenagers from Wasatch High School’s JROTC program and wrestling team pitched in to dredge bucketfuls of algae out of the ponds at Cascade Springs. By the end of the morning, they were covered in mud.

Denise Harris, who leads the JROTC program, said it’s a tradition for her students to help out at the Day of Service each year.

"We don’t mind getting dirty to help out — whatever we can do in the Valley as a way of giving back and honoring those who lost their lives on 9/11,” she said. “So it’s an honor to help our community.”

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