By Troy Hartpence
April 30, 2012 (Santee) -- Swarming like bees all over an area of the San Diego River Trail in Santee, close to 400 local members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints joined together on Saturday, April 28 to participate in the annual “Mormon Helping Hands” day of service. Volunteers of all ages performed duties such as trail maintenance, fencing installation, concrete breakdown, weed abatement, painting, laying down mulch, litter removal, water primrose and tamarisk removal and overall beautification tasks of the area.
Shannon Quigley-Raymond, the Program Coordinator of the San Diego River Park Foundation was very pleased with the efforts. “I am astounded and it’s so neat to see how people are hard-working and can do so much in such a short period of time,” Quigley-Raymond said. “It gives me goose bumps!” she added.
The Santee-Lakeside Rotary, La Mesa Sunrise Rotary, Santee Kiwanis, San Diego River Park Foundation Volunteers, members of Santee Newbreak Church, Santee Fire Department and the City of Santee also joined in on this community effort. Duane Flewelling, the Pastor from Newbreak Church in Santee, was lending a helping hand and said, “We can accomplish so much more together than we can alone and it’s just more fun when we do it together.”
Proclamations were presented to the Santee Helping Hands volunteers from the offices of Senator Joel Anderson, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and Santee Vice Mayor Rob McNelis, who was in attendance. “We just find it more and more difficult to find the hands in order to keep projects like this going on. It's more important now than ever before to have service clubs and organizations like this within the community volunteering and helping out the City that they live in, work in, play in, to keep it looking good,” Santee Vice Mayor Rob McNelis said.
”We are very fortunate in the City of Santee to have people like ‘Helping Hands.’ If we were to put a dollar figure on a project like this and what it would cost the city, it would probably be twenty to thirty thousand dollars worth of work that they’d be doing for us in volunteer efforts and that’s phenomenal,” McNelis added.
Event Coordinator, Marsi Walker, said, "I couldn't be happier with the amazing efforts of our volunteers. We truly came together to serve side-by-side to beautify this treasure, the San Diego River Trail, in East County."
More than 60,000 Church Members volunteered across the state of California to spruce up city, county and state parks, schools and more.