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Day of Action returns to Mid-Ohio Valley

Volunteers from WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center, including, from left, Kyle Pierson, Walt Newlon and Diana Hudkins, repainted the community room at the Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship Home Monday as part of the United Way’s Day of Action. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

PARKERSBURG — The Day of Action is one of Stacy DeCicco’s favorite events, and the 2021 edition was even sweeter, since it didn’t happen at all last year.

“Today felt extra special to us, because to sit out last year and have to take it off the calendar was just really sad,” said DeCicco, executive director of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Like so many things, the 2020 Day of Action — in which United Ways coordinate community improvement projects around the world– was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But on Monday, more than 140 volunteers from multiple area employers spread out to work at sites around Wood and Washington counties, from painting and cleaning out the basement of the Betsey Mills Club in Marietta to landscaping and re-mulching the playground at the Salvation Army of Parkersburg.

“Nobody comes out and gets some big, glamorous project,” DeCicco said.

But the work they do is appreciated by folks like Patrice Pooler, executive director of the Mid-Ohio Valley Fellowship Home, which provides residential substance abuse recovery services to men and women, both with and without children. Employees of WVU Medicine Camden Clark Medical Center repainted the community room that is used for meetings of 12-step programs and various gatherings.

Chemours volunteers, clockwise from left, Dixie Farhatt, Grace Mousty, Erica Factor and Casey O’Donnell paint a hopscotch pattern on the Born Learning Trail at Belpre’s Depot Park Monday as part of the United Way’s Day of Action. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“It’s so incredible,” Pooler said. “There’s such a high level of gratitude to see the community show up. … We’re a house of miracles.”

Employees of Chemours arrived at Depot Park in Belpre Monday morning to set up the United Way’s Born Learning Trail, adding signage and activities around the park’s track. Born Learning Trails are a United Way program and this was the first one in the area, DeCicco said.

The idea is to encourage families to be active together at the park, said Sara Hess, United Way community impact coordinator.

“It builds confidence as well as literacy,” Hess said, noting the signs along the trail that suggest activities for families. “A lot of times, we find that you walk up to a park and it’s the children off playing and the parents playing on their phones.”

Grace Mousty, chemical engineering co-op at Chemours, enjoyed painting a hopscotch pattern at one station with some co-workers.

Chemours employee Dennis Jenkins, left, trims a branch from a tree with the help of co-worker Sierra Gard in Belpre’s Depot Park Monday as part of the United Way’s Day of Action. (Photo by Evan Bevins)

“It’s awesome,” she said. “It’s nice to be a part of something that’ll be here for a while.”

As they have in years past, DeCicco said, the Chemours crew went above and beyond the call of duty, trimming weeds and cutting low-hanging branches from trees in the park.

“They did all sorts of things that were not on the original list, and they still finished early,” she said, noting the group had plans to come back another day if rain cut their work short.

Recovery Point Parkersburg sent more than 20 of its clients to help at various sites, including reorganizing boxes of files at Consumer Credit Counseling Services, which provided a small crew of its own to work at a blood drive at the Grand Central Mall. Other participants included the mall, Community Bank, DuPont, Kuraray, Thermo Fisher Scientific, United Bank and West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

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