Detroit Arsenal Volunteers Spruce Up Selfridge
May 30, 2012
U.S. Army Garrison - Detroit Arsenal, Mich. -- Detroit Arsenal garrison employees put on their work gloves and pitched in May 24 to spruce up Selfridge Air National Guard Base to make life better for those serving at that location and prepare for the garrison's Memorial Day event for surviving family members of fallen military members from Michigan.
The workers trimmed hedges, dug holes, picked rocks, planted flowers, hung flowers, laid bricks, blew debris, and distributed mulch with a goal of improving several areas on base. The IMCOM employees, representing various directorates, expressed enthusiasm for their work.
"It's an excellent opportunity," said Art Young, director of Emergency Services and acting deputy garrison manager. "We're able to come out here to accomplish something and it's great to do something for this community."
Similar sentiments were expressed by Carrie Mead, chief of garrison's Plans, Analysis and Integration Office. "There's nothing better than spending time outside and doing things to support out military families. It's nice to do the work that we do on a daily basis in a different way."
Kent Brickman, Army Community Service Director, enjoyed himself, "because of the overwhelming support that's been provided by the volunteers to help make the remembrance ceremony for the fallen a great event."
Temperatures reached the mid-eighties, but garrison employees kept well-hydrated as they worked throughout the day. Drinking water was one of several safety practices the workers heeded during a day with zero injuries. One major initiative involved covering the hard dirt of a large playground with mulch which will help prevent injuries in the future. "It helps with impact," stated Denise Blakely, garrison safety officer. "If a child were to fall, then they wouldn't be hurt as easily."
Other areas of concentration included the golf course and marina, where the volunteers performed a variety of beautification tasks to make the areas more appealing to customers of Family Morale Welfare and Recreation. A more dramatic transformation occurred around Selfridge's Patriot Pub, where workers performed landscaping and beautified the patio area, in a project that's ongoing.
"The Patriot Pub was kind of a transformation," said Alan Parks, garrison manager, who laid bricks for the pub's patio prior to hosting a garrison town hall meeting that afternoon. "We had some areas that were a little haggard and run down, and we absolutely turned that around, removed a lot of old gravel that had filled in and took something that was kind of ugly and made it more beautiful. It was a great transformation."
The atmosphere at the worksites was relaxed and cooperative, with people from different directorates collaborating, mirroring the larger volunteer effort on Selfridge. Representatives from all branches of service pitched in, along with various organizations from the Detroit Arsenal.
"It's also important from an esprit de corps sort of a way," said Bill Paling, the garrison's facilities liaison officer for Selfridge, "We've got a good variety of people here from the garrison. It's been great just getting out and working in the sun and partnering with the folks at Selfridge. They provided a lot of the material for free such as the mulch, the soil, and we appreciate their efforts as well."
The entire volunteer day resulted in several hundred planted (or hung) flower bunches and plants, and more than twenty yards of newly added top soil and mulch.
"I was absolutely floored to be honest by the incredible amount of work by the volunteers," said Parks who returned to the work sites after the town hall to find himself, "flabbergasted how everything looked--in the top four picnic area with the playground. That turned out absolutely great with the mulch provided by the wing, and our people distributing it and getting the playground back up to snuff."
"Things also looked great at the marina and golf course," added Parks. "They were inviting prior to the event but with the beautification and placing of the flowers, it absolutely made them more appealing to people and customers and kind of put some pride back into the facilities."