Efforts to beautify the town and to let people know they care about their community continued this weekend as another “I Love My City” event was held around the Hermiston Butte.
The campaign started in the fall of 2016 when members of the Hermiston Assembly of God wanted to do something to help the healing process when the community was rocked by recent tragedies. New Hope Community Church, Templo de Fe Esperanza y Amor and other community members have joined the efforts.
Tim Beal, pastor of family ministries at New Hope, said there had been discussion among the congregation about doing something to reach out to the community.
“When we saw what Hermiston Assembly was doing we thought that was a similar vision to what we had in mind,” he said. “It seemed like an easy thing to partner in and do together.”
The different churches, Beal said, head up community service projects and activities several times and also get together to work on a larger outreach effort.
Organized by New Hope, Saturday’s event included about 75 people of all ages — including babies in backpacks, Beal said. Although smaller children sometimes slow down the progress on projects, Beal said it’s important to include all ages as a way to encourage giving back to one’s community.
“When parents and adults model the selfless and giving attitude ... it leads to a stronger community and a stronger sense of community support,” he said.
Using wheelbarrows, shovels, rakes and even an all-terrain vehicle, participants helped in picking up trash, providing trail maintenance near the Butte and painting equipment at Funland Park. Beal said they chose the particular projects after talking to Larry Fetter, director of Hermiston Parks & Recreation. Fetter, Beal said, provided a list of possible projects that volunteer groups could do to help the city.
Heidi Gray, along with her children, Nattalie, 14 and Luke, 12, helped during a past event as well as Saturday’s clean-up day. She said it was fun to participate in an activity with family, friends and neighbors.
“We have talked about how if you want to see a change in the community around you it often takes getting out and doing something about it,” Gray said. “So in a small way we did that today.”
Also, Gray said it offers a way for kids to take ownership in their town. Youths, she said, might be more aware of the impact of littering after spending a day picking up after others.
“And this way, they learn leadership begins by getting the dirty stuff done,” Gray added.
Many participants donned red “I Love My City” T-shirts. Beal said the shirts stand out and some people have asked what they are involved with.
“We just believe God calls us to take care for our city,” he said. “For me, it makes me more invested in the city with pride and ownership.”
A larger “I Love My City” project is planned in April, Beal said. Information will be available as the date nears.