A second group headed to the river bank where they continued work to clear small trees, bushes and brush along the bank to offer a better view of the Thornapple River. Armed with handsaws, trimmers, shovels and gloves, they tore out weeds and shrubs. In no time they had filled a dump truck with limbs and debris and were working on filling the second load halfway through the morning.
A small group of workers meticulously picked glass and sharp objects out of the dirt along the river bank making it a safer place to visit.
The Barry County United Way Day of Caring kicks off the annual campaign for the organization. This year there were 21 different projects scattered throughout the county, including the projects students did in Middleville.
"I love it. I love helping the community and hopefully making a difference. It makes me feel like I'm doing something good," said TKHS student Jaydynn Schutt.
As students finished up their work and enjoyed a sack lunch under the gazebo at Stagecoach Park, they reflected on the past week's events. Earlier in the week many of the same students attended the Middleville Patriot's Day ceremony to honor and remember victims of the 9-11-01 attacks. There, they were reminded of the importance of service to others.
"I think it's super important to give back to the community that has supported us so much," said TKHS student Alex Hanshaw. "I hope it's something I'll always be able to do."
Many admitted they thought about the 9-11 ceremony as they volunteered.
"I liked helping out a lot. It feels great to be able to help and everything looks great," said Julia Curtis.Aiden Hannapel said giving back and helping others is a nice feeling. "It's nice to see that we've been able to do something to help the community. They support us and the schools so much, it's just good to be able to do something to help," he said.