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200 volunteers work for Park Pride

Girl Scout Troop 65171 volunteers worked at Millennium Park for Park Pride. Team members were, from left, Camille Johnson and Marian Winn, students at James Hart School; Ella Linde, a student at Parker Junior High; and leaders Ebony Winn and Michelle Johnson. (MT)

While fewer people came out to Park Pride than in previous years, about 200 volunteers spruced up their local parks during the spring cleanup event organized by the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District. 

For two hours in the morning of Saturday, May 7, crews of residents were led by park district staffers on teams that planted flowers, pulled weeds and picked up trash at about 20 parks, said Doug Boehm, superintendent of parks.

“We’re so grateful to have people come out and give us two hours of their time. They’re providing an essential service that saves us multiple hours of work over the summer,” Boehm said. “These towns are so special that you ask people to come out and help, and they just do it.”

Brothers Joey, 4, and Mikey Meehan, 6, of Homewood had their digging tools at the ready in Leavitt Park on Park Pride Day Saturday. (MT)
Shem Johnson prepares to dig up weeds from a flower bed at Leavitt Park in Flossmoor. (MT)

In total, H-F Park District features 31 parks on 360 acres of land. During the event, volunteers spread 100 yards of mulch and planted 80 flats of flowers, in addition to picking up garbage and sticks, and pulling weeds in playgrounds, tennis courts and more.

Boehm coordinates the parks crews for the event, who pick up the bags of garbage and lawn refuse that are collected. Jennah Carlson, recreation supervisor in charge of special events, recruited volunteers and ensured each location had the supplies it needed.

“Some needed mulch, and others needed flowers, so I was making sure all those materials were getting where they needed to go,” Carlson said.

At Orchard Park on Olive Road in Homewood, Anne Brabec planted begonias and pulled weeds from a memorial garden. A park district staff member, Brabec lives down the road and remembers her children playing at the park. Now that they’re adults, she still appreciates the park during walks and every day when she drives by.

“I just wanted to volunteer since it’s my neighborhood park,” Brabec said.

After working, volunteers ate a park district-provided lunch of hot dogs, chips and water in the parking lot of Irwin Center. Park district board of commissioners president Brent Bachus thanked the crowd, and asked them to recognize the crews who keep the parks maintained all summer.

Photos by Marilyn Thomas/H-F Chronicle

Area Tate volunteered to help beautify Leavitt Park on Park Pride Day sponsored by the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District. (MT)
Homewood-Flossmoor High School Key Club member Zosha Schall plants marigolds in the flower bed at the corner of Ridge Road and Gottschalk Avenue at Irwin Park. (MT)
Kaleb Johnson had a bag full of weeds his mom, Erica Johnson, and others pulled from the grounds of Leavitt Park. (MT)
Dana Yarbrough of Flossmoor volunteered to work with other family members at Irwin Center in Homewood for Park Pride Day. (MT)
Ground cover around the Irwin Center is cleared of weeds by dad Alex Yarbrough and son, Kristian, a sophomore at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. (MT)
Kaleb Yarbrough, a junior at Homewood-Flossmoor High, gave a few hours of time to the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District on Park Pride Day Saturday. He worked around the Irwin Center. (MT)

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