Volunteers Rally on September 11

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September 12, 2012 by   - () Leave a Comment

Many across the nation continue to heal from the tragic moments of 2001 through community service.

Volunteers gathered at state parks across Virginia Tuesday (Sept. 11) to participate in the second annual National Day of Service, WSLS-TV, Lynchburg, reported.

A group of volunteers spent the morning cleaning up a cove at Smith Mountain Lake State Park in southwest Virginia.

As they pull their boats out of the water trash bags, fill the center of the canoes.

Two of the volunteers, Cindy Okeson and Erika O'Neill, typically walk their dogs together in the morning and decided to switch it up.

“I kind of chose this, because I felt I was giving back.  I always feel like I need to give back, I’ve been very blessed in my life and I felt this was the perfect way to do it,” Okeson explained.

Even though some of the volunteers admit they were nervous to clean up in a canoe, that didn't stop them from making a difference.

“I said to her, 'I haven't canoed in 50 years and I said I don't know if I remember how' and we thought it would be a glorious way to celebrate today,” O’Neill said.

This is the second straight year Virginia State Parks have taken this anniversary and turned it into an opportunity for folks to volunteer.

“I think that's sort of the American spirit, is to make positive out of a negative and when so many people had been impacted it was as though it happened to the whole nation in your own neighborhood, even though it was as far away as New York and D.C. and Pennsylvania, it still felt like it happened in your backyard,” said Lauri Schular, Smith Mountain Lake State Park nature interpreter.

With Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Lora Carr's backyard, so to speak, she was on grounds just a couple weeks ago.

“I noticed quite a bit of trash that had rolled up from the water and so I thought, Wow we can get out there and help clean it up,'” Carr said.

All this work is in remembrance of one of our country's darkest days.

“I always start with a devotion in the morning and one of the devotions today was you know to remember, but to give thanks for the people that tried to save and helped to save all of those people, you know my day started that way and I think it will end that way,” Okeson said.

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