The Dana College campus cleanup is certainly the good news story of the week. On Saturday, June 25th, more than 150 Dana alumni and community volunteers worked in the sun, heat and humidity to remove tree limbs and overgrown shrubbery and weeds. Another estimated 40 volunteers pitched in on Sunday. The volunteers included Blair Team Mates mentors working side by side with their school age mentees to clean up flower beds. High school and college students who are members of CRU, formerly known as Campus Crusade for Christ, also worked tirelessly throughout the day on Saturday. On Sunday a group of Midland College football players helped out.
Dana College Alumni and Friends Association member and clean-up organizer Linda Jorgensen said she was overwhelmed by the number of volunteers standing in line at the Gardner Hawks Center at 8:00 AM Saturday to fill out waivers and strap on white wristbands and go to work. Starting on the north end of campus at Pioneer Memorial, the teams of volunteers moved south across the campus attacking one tangle of weeds and shrubbery after another.
I helped drag some branches to refuse piles, but more likely got in the way as Tom Jackson, Kathy and Dave McKinnis, and Faith Andreasen removed a jungle of greenery in Letha’s Garden. The Garden adjacent to the Durham Center is a memorial to Letha Jorgensen Pagel and Gordon “B” Jensen. I tried to stay out of the way, but I was fascinated by the statuary that emerged as Tom and Dave cut away bushes and tree branches hiding the terra-cotta statues.
What happened in Letha’s Garden pretty much exemplified what took place all across the campus as volunteers removed unsightly and damaging vines, weeds and shrubs from building facades and walk ways.
On days preceding as well as during the cleanup, McKinnis Roofing and Sheet Metal crews wielded chain saws and trimmers and provided the heavy equipment. Dana repairs project manager Bobby McKinnis was gratified by the size of the turnout, and the amount of work accomplished. “It looks great, doesn’t it?” McKinnis commented.
Jorgensen calls Bobby a “home town hero” for his efforts in making the clean up a reality. Home town hero is an appropriate phrase to describe all who came out to do what they could to beautify the campus.
There are nay sayers who think there is no good reason to work for free when a private developer now owns the property. While owner Frank Krejci has a financial stake in the campus, community members and alumni have a personal and emotional stake in this institution. We all hope that good things will happen to the Dana campus, but we have little control over that.
What we can do is be good neighbors. And we can all feel good about that.
Diane Christenson and Karen Riddle clean up flower beds near the Durham Center. Dana College cleanup
Makenzie Cummings, Halli Ray, and Will Cummings hold an open trash bg for Deanna Kloster.
Bill Henderson drags an arm load of limbs cross the Durham center lawn.
Plaque on a stone commemorating Letha’s Garden
Dean Penner carries tree branch in front of Holling Hall.
Jeremy McKinnis trims tree branches
CJ tree service owner Jesse Burt cuts down a dead pine tree next to the Pioneer center at Dana College cleanup
Tom Jackson removes brush from Letha’s Garden.
Tammy Reeh and John Mark Nielsen carry tree truck to refuse pile.