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Volunteers turn out for ‘Day of Service’
MARYSVILLE — In spite of overcast skies that soon turned to the first sprinkles of rain that many Marysville residents haven't seen in a while, the Doleshel Tree Farm Park was packed with volunteers willing to wake up early on a Saturday morning, go outdoors and improve their community.
Dozens of families and individuals alike arrived before 9 a.m. on Sept. 17, most of them bringing their own tools, to transform the property between Kellogg Marsh Elementary and 67th Avenue NE as part of the National Day of Service and Remembrance, sponsored by the Marysville Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Deanna Vaughan, the Marysville Stake’s public affairs and community representative, explained that the overall objective of the project was to clear the property of vegetation and trees, as the first step toward turning it into a park and community garden center. As part of this process, volunteers alternately cut down and thinned the limbs of trees that had already been marked by city of Marysville workers, trimming their branches to a height of seven feet to heighten public safety by affording greater visibility from the street to police.
“The planning for this has been in the works for about the past six months,” said Shonn Mereness, one of the project’s key coordinators. “We wanted to enhance the availability of parks with an additional park system, which the city had also wanted to do for quite some time, so we were happy to help them out.”
“We asked for people who could volunteer time, tools and talent,” Vaughan said. “With equipment like chainsaws, we obviously wanted people who knew how to use them safely. For its part, the city provided a wood chipper on site so that we could feed the branches and limbs that we trimmed into it to be turned into mulch and bark that the city will use to help create trails and pathways.”
Denise Jacobsen’s sash and tiara were nowhere to be seen, as the Marysville Strawberry Festival Junior Royalty Princess joined mom Jenny in thinning out the forest while wearing a heavy sweater, sturdy gloves and blue jeans.
“I don’t usually sleep in on Saturdays anyway,” Denise said, as she put some muscle behind her shears. “The big knots on these trees are the hardest to cut off.”
“As soon as we heard the announcement at our church, we knew we’d be coming here today,” Jenny said.
While the day’s labors drew support well beyond the LDS Church, many church members likewise came from well beyond Marysville to contribute their efforts. Elders Michael Broadhead and Joshua Warhurst traveled from Salt Lake City, Utah, to do their mission work in Marysville, which included removing and replacing the Doleshel Tree Farm Park’s metal fence along 67th Avenue NE.
“With anything like this, if we don’t do this work, who will?” Broadhead asked.
“Besides, this benefits everybody,” said Evan Parker, who recently moved to Marysville from Idaho. “Doing work like this gives you a sense of accomplishment. We won’t take this place for granted.”
Marysville Boy Scout Danyon Heacock, aged 14, teamed up with the volunteers to take out the existing bridge crossing the streams on the property, and began installation of a new bridge that he intends to provide greater safety to visitors.
“The new bridge will be 25 feet long, so it’ll be easier to get across,” said Heacock, who recruited a couple of dozen volunteers of his own to help him complete his Eagle Scout project. “It’ll also have handrails, pressure-treated wood and nice decking.”
Heacock credited the city of Marysville with strongly supporting his project, and also cited contributions from Parr Lumber in Everett, Matheus Lumber in Woodinville, Arlington Hardware & Lumber and Carr’s Hardware in Marysville. Danyon’s mother, Carleen Heacock, expressed her pride in her son for learning how to approach adults about his project and explain to them its importance.