This past weekend, a group of student and parent volunteers got their hands dirty while lending a hand to another community group.
On Sunday, Sept. 9, students of the Grove City High School's Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and members from the Grove City High School JROTC Parent Boosters cleaned up the outside of the American Legion Building at 3363 McDowell Road.
The cleanup, originally scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8 but delayed due to weather concerns, involved laying mulch, clearing brush, cutting down overhanging branches and picking up debris.
As the clean-up wore on, the volunteers became coated with sweat, dirt, wood chips, mulch, grass and leaves.
"This place was really overgrown," said Tim Robbins, president of the JROTC Boosters. "We just wanted to do something nice for these guys."
Equipment, including a truck, was loaned by Steve Beck, owner of the landscaping business A Tree Mendous Design. He also contributed the mulch at wholesale prices.
Beck said his nephew is in the NJROTC, and his sister is the boosters treasurer.
"It worked out well," Beck said. "It does something good for the community."
Robbins said the American Legion allows the boosters use of its dining hall for its spaghetti dinner fundraisers during the year, and the boosters wanted to help clean up the site as a sign of appreciation as well as to get it looking good for the Legion's Sept. 11 memorial ceremony.
Among the participants in the cleanup on Sunday was Justin Darby, a 2007 graduate of Grove City High School who was a member of the NJROTC for four years.
"It's good to be able to go out and support our veterans," Darby said. "They risked their lives defending ours."
Robbins said projects like this give the students opportunity to work for community service ribbons, and for many students, this was their first project.
"We've got a lot of freshmen," he said. "They can bond."
One of the first time participants was sophomore Timothy Ruth.
"We're just getting a job done," he said. "It's great."
Captain Steven Noce, a retired 30-year Navy officer, is the NJROTC instructor at Grove City High School. The program, he said, while not specifically a recruiting program provides citizenship classes and military service orientation.
It teaches students how to be responsible citizens and how to give back, Beck said.
"We do all kinds of activities in the classroom and outside," he said. "It gives (the students) a sense of belonging. It builds their confidence."
These kinds of projects are a team effort, Beck said.
"You get the parents involved," he said. "You get the kids involved. It turns out to be a good thing for the community."