Hannibal was the first of five stops between Minneapolis and Dallas for a group of college students, who spent Saturday morning, March 16, picking up trash in local parks, cleaning up a ball park and working on the home of a disabled man.
The 45 students from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis were spending their spring break doing volunteer work in five cities with their “Students Today, Leaders Forever” organization.
Travis Hulbert, their group leader and a senior, explained they will next stop for work days in Blytheville, Ark.; Greenville, Miss.; New Orleans; and Houston before arriving in Dallas.
Danial Tutor Sr., a disabled man who has lived at 1401 Walnut St. for the past 26 years, said the students working at his home “created a miracle.” They did inside work and also preliminary work on the roof in preparation for installation of a new roof. Tutor was “glad the Good Lord” provided their help.
Tutor’s home was suggested by Stephanie Thomeczek, leader of the Families & Communities Together (FACT) organization.
The students at Tutor’s home were Megan Brennan, Elizabeth Greenlee, Brandon Tveito and Rewan Youssif. Youssif is a one-year exchange student from Egypt, who is studying medical research at the School of Public Health.
Large group works
at Bear Creek
“We moved lots of tires, metal and fencing, and pulled a truck bed to a shed” at Bear Creek Sports Park, said Hannah Marthaler, a premed student and future pediatrician. She was working with Rachel Hopps and McKinley Moore, who both are studying kinesiology, which is the scientific study of human movement. Hopps hopes to work with animals, and Moore is looking into physical therapy.
“I had 27 college students help me clean up the park,” said Mark Sanders, director of Bear Creek Sports Park, which is operated by a non-for-profit organization. “The FACT group gave me gloves for the kids,” he said, calling the work day “a community thing.”
Sanders reported he “got more done with those 27 kids than it would have taken me six months to a year. We had so much stuff that has been there for years. We pulled out numerous things and raked leaves,” collecting many bags of leaves and trash.
When they moved the truck bed, “nearly everybody helped,” he said. “And we lifted up a scoreboard that has been there so long it had grass growing out of it.”
He was glad he could give them homemade cinnamon rolls, provided by Martha Pitney. ‘“We had fun,” Sanders said. “The group was very polite and courteous and never turned down stuff I would have hesitated to do. They were truly a blessing that helped get things ready for the upcoming season. We had education majors to mechanical engineering majors.”
Page 2 of 2 - Additional cleanup days at the sports park are scheduled on Saturday, April 13, and Saturday, April 27, and the public is invited to help. Ball practices will begin in April and games are scheduled from May until fall, Sanders said. “We have a lot of things planned at the park. It’s for community use. People can come out and play catch.”
Many bags of trash also were picked up in Riverview Park. After finishing this job, one group went to Beth-Haven Nursing Home, where they visited the residents. Some of these students are heading for careers with non-profit organizations, including juniors Julie Vo and Maranda Rollins.
Before leaving Hannibal Saturday afternoon, the Minnesota students had lunch at Calvary Baptist Church, where they had stayed overnight Friday.
Their work day was coordinated by Lori Dowil, Facilities/Environmental Engineer at General Mills in Hannibal. “I organized the event and lined up the work and lined up the lunch,” she said, after she was requested to recommend places the students could do volunteer work.
The Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department provided trash bags for the work at local parks, and later collected the filled bags. “We really appreciate it and think it’s great that they are taking time out of their spring break to help others,” said Mary Lynn Richards of the Parks & Recreation Department. “We would love for other groups to participate in such cleanups.”
For more pictures, see “Seen on Scene” photo gallery of students’ work day.