N2N Effort a Big Success for 2017
Maybe it was the weather this past Saturday, Aug. 19, as temperatures remained below 90 degrees until afternoon, resulting in a gorgeous, cloudless work day. Perhaps it was the camaraderie, as 42 adults, teens and youth joined forces with Neighbor 2 Neighbor team spirit. Whatever the reason, this year's clean-up effort proved to be a big success.
The sound of bush hogs, weed-eaters, chain saws, push mowers, tractors and huge lawn mowers filled the air. By 10 a.m. one of Memorial Park’s flower beds at the entrance had been finished, as an ongoing effort of Clarence and Jane Huffman was finished up with help from several teens and Martha Thompson. The crew then crossed the street and began again at the old M&M site where Karen Price said her father used to take her to get ice cream. “He said it was custard,” she recalled.
As if the sounds of heavy equipment sent forth a siren’s call, by 10:30 a.m., neighbors who must have had plans to mow and weed-eat on Saturday, joined in the clean-up effort all over Rector. Mike and Penny Scott, with sons Kade and Alec, drew a crowd on 4th Street at McNabb and at Phillips. At times it seemed like more tractors and mowers were in the streets than automobiles.
Fifth Street required more effort. The curbs there hold dirt, mud, and other debris easily. A crew from 5th and Pine Church of Christ, including Tracy and Amy Garner, David and Kim Romine, Steven McFadden, and Ken Roden along with youth assistants used several tractors, front-end loaders, and weed-eaters to take care of this main artery which leads to the school. Cobi Hendrix and her team finished up at the football practice field and moved on to an area in front of the administration office. Beyond, at South Woodland Heights, Jacob Nolen, the Cooks and their helpers, plus Laramie LeQuieu, and Kirk Ford tackled some embankments, and dirt-curbs. LeQuieu and Ford then took on 3rd Street areas and some side streets. With a big mower such as Ford’s, much can be accomplished.
It appeared as if a mob had attacked overgrowth in some locations, but with tried-and-true leaders, 12 adults and teens got the jobs knocked-out. David Johnson drove Keith Hill’s front-end loader and worked not only on street and curb jobs, but filled the loader with bags of grass and took them to the city-provided dump truck parked for the day behind the Piggott State Bank parking lot. Stephen Dement’s big tractor came in handy on several tasks, especially behind the barber shop area and the alley-way that is about to be paved adjacent to the Rector Public Library.
The multiple town ditches that had become overgrown were handled by Jerry Stokes and crew with a heavy-duty weed eater equipped with a saw blade attachment. The crew then moved on to the lot beside Irby’s Funeral Home on Main Street.
The large group, who did not have other plans for later in the afternoon, joined together at the Community Center to feast on Subway sandwiches, chips, cookies, soft drinks and water. At that time, Marvin and Jane Gatewood distributed Sonic gift cards to the participating teens and Sonic community cards to all the adult workers. Because of the generosity of Rector businesses, the lunch and gift cards along with trash bags, gloves, and bug spray were furnished. In keeping with tradition, the workers furnished their own tools and brought extras to share.
During lunch, Mayor Teresa Roofe and City Council members, Lark Sigsby and Ryan Lawrence, joined the workers. They expressed appreciation for this year’s team effort and for the five years these volunteers have participated in the special effort of cleaning up and sprucing up various neighborhood properties around town.
Steve and Brandy Cook inquired about the determining factors for assignments. “It varies from year to year,” a veteran N2N volunteer shared. “What we are seeing more of is people doing extra to keep their properties maintained. Sometimes, the homeowner is unable to keep his lawn; at other times, the homeowner is without the tools to make a dent in what needs to be done. Neighbor 2 Neighbor attempts to do the work and set the example of what people can do when a community comes together for one cause.”
Adult workers for the 2017 effort included Clarence and Jane Huffman, Martha Thompson, Stephen and Sandra Dement, David and Kim Romine, Ken Roden, Laramie LeQuieu, Steven McFadden, Ken and Karen Price, Kirk Ford, Jerry Stokes, Steve and Brandy Cook, Jacob Nolen, Cobi Hendrix, Mike and Penny Scott, Alec Scott, Kade Scott, Tracy and Amy Garner, Lowell and Deanna McKenney, David Johnson, Farren Young along with Marvin and Jane Gatewood.
Youth workers this year were Morgan Garner, Corrinna Owens, Ben Owens, Makayla Owens, Dustin Owens, Adam Romine, Andrew Romine, John Ford Hendrix, Sawyer Hendrix, Garrett Burns, Madison Stokes and Abby Beck.