As far as Barbara Crocker was concerned, this year’s Love in Action volunteers “absolutely epitomized the ‘Love in Action’ title.”
Crocker, 75, was one of countless area residents who received a visit April 22 during the third annual reaching-out engineered by Cherry Hills Community Church.
Burdened by a number of physical handicaps and unable to take care of her own yard work anymore, Crocker was left stunned by the amount of work the volunteers did at her residence during the three-hour event.
“It would be easier to say what they didn’t do,” she said. “They pulled weeds, raked, pruned, cleaned out flower beds, put mulch down, cleaned off my patio, replaced my landscape timbers, and fertilized my front and back yard. ... They even set up my sprinklers and double-checked to make sure they were running correctly.
“There’s no way I could do any of that. It was one of the biggest blessings of my life in a while. When I would look out there I would just get overwhelmed, they just came through and did it all. It was a labor of love. They are all God’s angels as far as I am concerned.”
Crocker, who said she never dreamed she would be able to get the rotting landscape timbers replaced, counted as many as 21 volunteers working on her yard throughout the day. According to Kristen Kidd, communications specialist for the church, this year’s event drew close to 2,300 total volunteers, making it the biggest turnout yet in three years.
In addition to helping neighbors such as Crocker, Love in Action also sent a team of 400 volunteers through the Backcountry Wilderness Area. The team performed maintenance on a 2-mile stretch of trail, pulled more than 3,000 weeds, and thinned a half-acre of oak to help with fire mitigation, just for starters.
Far from done there, volunteers took to the streets to pick up trash and debris along major throughways, did work at all four recreation centers and hit 37 schools in Highlands Ranch, laying mulch on playgrounds and doing all sorts of routine maintenance outside each of the schools.
“The custodian at Bear Canyon Elementary, Bill Mefford, told us it would take him at least eight weeks to accomplish what was done in one afternoon (by the volunteers),” Kidd said, adding that in times of slashed budgets the free work at all of the schools has been greatly appreciated.
“It was joyful. People were loving being out there enjoying the weather and doing some good work. This is definitely the largest volunteer effort that benefits our community and it’s becoming an annual spring cleaning tradition to look forward to,” Kidd said.