Nearly 700 Chadron State College students, faculty and staff volunteers signed up for The Big Event service project which took place Saturday.
A wide variety of businesses, churches, private residences, city and other non-profit sites numbering more than 50 were included in the day of service. Several teams also cleaned roadsides along Highways 20 and 385.
Justy Bullington of Mullen, Neb., social media advertising director for the event, said, "I was beyond pleased to see the improvements this year. It was humbling to see the attitude toward The Big Event by the student body at CSC. I feel like it was well received and I hope the community felt as big of a positive impact as we constantly feel from them. I had many job sites tell me to keep them in mind for next year. It warms my heart to see The Big Event grow."
Reportedly, about 150 volunteers traveled to Crawford where they worked on more than 20 sites and one team traveled to Rushville.
Cheyenne Deering of Wall, S.D.,financial coordinator for the event, said she was excited to see all of the volunteers at their job sites working to help the community.
A crew of about 20 planted approximately 850 native shrubs in the 1,800 acre Bordeaux Creek State Wildlife Management Area east of Chadron and south of Highway 20.
Area manager Greg Schenbeck said the labor performed by the CSC group was very much appreciated.
The crew replanted an area where similar shrubs died from drought, in spite of being watered, in 2012.
“We had a lot of fun and got a lot of work done. We mixed in a little education too,” Schenbeck said.
He said, “We were pleased to see that the volunteers wore the right clothing for the work. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the students. Sam Parker and his team did a tremendous job organizing the day.”
Other CSC classes have a history of helping over the years with prescribed burns, grass plantings and shrubs planting in the area which is managed for outdoor recreation, hunting and wildlife conservation.
Another work site along Highway 20 east of Chadron included the Museum of the Fur Trade. Gail Potter, director, said The Big Event team working on the grounds accomplished in two hours what it would have taken the staff two weeks.
“Everybody pitched in and it was really dirty work. They even offered to do more than we had ready for them,” Potter said.
In Chadron, Cherl Bosch, activities director for Crest View Care Center, said the residents’ faces lit up when they heard the CSC women's ensemble sing with their leader Dr. Una Taylor. CSC Social Work Club members served ice cream following the performance and stayed to socialize with the residents. Two students met with Bosch after the event to set up additional times to visit with Crest View residents.
At the Dawes County Courthouse, volunteers mulched trees, removed dead branches and cleaned subterranean holders for the U.S. flags flown along Main Street on Memorial Day to honor veterans. County Commissioner and CSC student Jake Stewart said he was impressed with their hard work and great attitudes.
“They were upbeat, polite and excited to help. When they finished one task, they asked for more to do. People driving by honked and some stopped to help after they were done with their projects. We kept going until 3:30,” he said.
Stewart’s 10-year-old son, Dalton, helped as well as two children of CSC faculty member Lee Miller and his wife, Shaye, who came by to join the fun.
Chadron Police Chief Tim Lordino expressed his gratitude for the CSC students and faculty who cleaned debris away from the law enforcement shooting range near the landfill.
In Crawford, a team worked at the Old West Trail Rodeo grounds from 1:30-4 p.m. removing debris, painting rails and parking posts plus other tasks.
Job site coordinator Connie Kittell of Chadron said, “I am so incredibly proud of The Big Event volunteers. They really made a difference. The effects of their work are more far-reaching than they realize.”
Bethany Marie Kroetch of Phillip, S.D., event assistant director, said, “This was my first year being involved with The Big Event. I could tell that the community was very thankful to have us at their job sites. I am excited to see what is done with the event next year.”
—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator