Extra service – Volunteers still at itJulia Smith, 87, talks about her troubles getting in and out of her house with her walker. On Feb. 18, MLK Service Project volunteers completed her handicap ramp. Photo by: Dan Whisenhunt
It’s been a month since the MLK Service Project in Decatur, but sometimes the projects go well beyond the Martin Luther King Day weekend.
The annual service project draws thousands of volunteers who help elderly and low income Decatur residents with home repairs and yard work. It’s not uncommon for volunteers to return to complete projects that couldn’t be finished.
That’s why Mark Sanders was out on a Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 18, with the rain threatening overhead, finishing up a handicap ramp for Julia Smith, 87. Sanders, with the help of Smith’s grandson Ron Crane, built the form the weekend of the project. The concrete pouring was scheduled for later, but got delayed because of two snow storms.
Sanders and other volunteers poured the concrete over the weekend and took the form off on Feb. 18.
Smith stood at the door of her home, leaning on her walker. She said she’ll have an easier time getting in and out of the house.
“All of my children, they had to go down the steps and put the walker on the ground, then I had to hold on,” Smith said.
Smith has lived in her home since 1968. Thanks to the service project, she’ll have another reason to stay put.
“It’s a good program,” she said. “It helps.”
Indeed it does. Last night Paul Mitchell, chairman of the MLK Service Project, gave a summary to city commissioners.
He said 1,330 volunteers worked 8,860 hours on 38 homes. They used 1,035 tools, 2,435 lawn bags and did about $215,000 worth of repairs.