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Tuesday, May 20, 2014

This was no ordinary day at the office. 735 people from area workplaces, schools, churches, and organizations turned out to work on 253 service projects Tuesday on United Way’s Community Care Day. The event, in its 18th year, sends groups to work in teams of two to 30 handle large-scale chores requiring great manpower for social service agencies and spring cleaning or landscaping projects for area seniors.

A group from Honda R&D did some landscaping work at the home of Mary Lou Mitchell.
“It’s so cool,” said Drew Smarra, an Allstate insurance agent who participated in his first Community Care Day. “So many people took time from their jobs to help and it’s awesome to see a community come together to do that. When we were done with our project, it was so rewarding. A couple hours, a little mulch, a few plants, and you have something for people to enjoy.”

Smarra and his group from the Union County Young Professionals joined others from Honda R&D to prepare raised bed gardens at the Union County Senior Services building.

Many volunteers worked on more than one project through the day. A group of 10 from Honda Marysville took on a variety of projects for eight senior citizens, including Marysville resident Mary Scheiderer. The volunteers did some spring cleaning inside and painted her back porch outside. Jeff Pister, General Manager of the dealership, says the group project makes for a good team-building exercise.

“It gets a bunch of our people from different departments to work together and we go out and meet people in the community,” said Jeff Pister. “We get a large group together, hang out, have fun, and help people.”

“This is amazing,” said an appreciative Scheiderer. “How else could seniors get this done? I won’t even know my house when I go back in because it will be so shiny!”

Around the corner, Nyla Bowersmith had a trio of Marysville High School Student Council members landscaping her property in preparation for a weekend celebration.

“I’m having a big cookout on Memorial Day because it’s my Mom’s 99th birthday and we usually have the party here in my backyard,” Bowersmith said. “So I try to get as much done before that day so it is ready. This really helps out!”

“It’s important because the students get the chance to give back to the community that has supported them through their childhood,” said Angie Adkins, the Marysville High School Student Council Advisor. “We look forward to this day.”

“I joined our First United Methodist Church team for yard cleaning, hedge trimming, tree pruning, and mowing to the joyful delight of the senior residents,” said Ness Gacusan. “Giving back is a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and joy. It is an awesome experience beyond any imagination.”

The volunteer impact was widespread. From Plain City to Richwood, Milford Center to Raymond, an army of volunteers sporting white LIVE UNITED t-shirts were in full force.

In Plain City, a group from Technology Site Planners revitalized old playground equipment at the Daily Needs Assistance Pantry. Volunteers from Lowe’s repairing and painted walls and replaced ceiling tiles at the Plain City Food Pantry. Rotary Club of Union County members took on over a dozen projects for residents in the Pleasant Valley senior community.

In Richwood, over 100 students from various North Union High School service groups will be canvassed the village, working on a variety of projects for individual residents and entities, including a fence project at the North Union Softball for Girls ballfields and a painting project at the Richwood Public Library. Volunteers from Honda R&D worked on landscaping projects throughout the Richwood Fairgrounds. And staff from the Richwood Banking Company built raised bed gardens for seniors at the Richwood Civic Center.

In Milford Center, volunteers from The Home Depot spruced up Liberty Park in the heart of the village. Scotts Miracle-Gro associates painted a gazebo in the park at Sugar Ridge. Volunteers from Honda R&D built a new fence at the youth football field.

In Marysville, staff from the Union County Board of Developmental Disabilities cleaned the dog kennels at the Union County Humane Society. Nestle Product Technology Center associates baked over 100 dozen cookies for upcoming American Red Cross Bloodmobiles. Volunteers from Nationwide Insurance collected items at area shopping centers for local food pantries.

United Way of Union County’s first Community Care Day was in 1997 with 150 volunteers. The event was originally held in the fall near the kickoff of the annual United Way campaign. It gave campaign organizers at local businesses insight into the work United Way does and the people United Way serves. The event moved to spring in 2006 to better accommodate volunteers’ schedules and has grown exponentially as a stand-alone event.

39 corporate sponsors supported the event, including: Presenting Sponsors Adecco; Buffalo Wild Wings; CenturyLink; CSX; Dayton Power & Light; Eufinger Law Offices; The Home Depot; Honda of America, Mfg.; Interim Health Care; Lowe’s; The Marysville Homes Group; McAuliffe’s ACE Hardware; Memorial Hospital of Union County and the Gables at Green Pastures; Scotts Miracle-Gro; Union County Senior Services; and Wal-Mart. T-Shirt Sponsors include Dickman Supply; Good as Gold Promotions; Heartland of Marysville; Honda Lock R&D; Honda Marysville; Honda Trading America; Liberty National Bank; Marysville’s First Federal Community Bank; Midwest Express Group, Muetzel Plumbing and Heating; National Lime & Stone Company; New Day Farms; New York Life; Oberfield’s, LCC; Thrivent Financial; Union County Foundation; Union Rural Electric; and Veyance Technologies. In-kind support from East of Chicago Pizza;; St. John’s Lutheran Church & School; and Testa Trucking, Inc.

For hundreds of photos from Community Care Day 2014, please visit our Facebook page at

For more information about Community Care Day, please visit
LEFT: Ali Marshall, Danielle Perry, and Amy Perry of the Marysville High School Student Council spent the morning doing yardwork for Marysville resident Nyla Bowersmith.

CENTER: Ken Kang of Honda R&D digs a hole for a fence post at the Fairbanks Junior Panthers Football Field in Milford Center.

RIGHT: Cathy and Doug Brake, of Marysville, express the sentiments of all project recipients from Community Care Day, surrounded by the volunteers from Veyance Technologies who painted their front porch on Tuesday.
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