By Mason W. Canales
Killeen Daily Herald
More than 17,000 volunteers helped make a difference in Killeen during the 17th annual Make a Difference Day Saturday.
There were about 127 projects submitted for Make a Difference Day and 97 of those projects were adopted by the mass of volunteers, Killeen’s Director of Volunteer Services Wilfred Brewster said.
“This is a lot higher than in the past,” Brewster said. “We have about 4,000 more people this year than last. This is indicative of the volunteerism we are seeing around the nation.”
Projects ranged from feeding the elderly, hosting food drives for the hungry and homeless, cleaning graffiti, doing some maintenance for some local nonprofits, digging drainage ditches and much more, Brewster said.
Activities also were held in other Central Texas cities, including Copperas Cove.
About 18 volunteers from Fox Troop, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, provided manual labor for the Salvation Army Thrift Store at 801 E. Rancier Ave.
“It is good to give back,” said Staff Sgt. Arthur Harrison. “Sometimes you don’t see what people give to you but you feel good for giving back.”
Several members showed up at the doors of the Salvation Army early and were eager to volunteer their services Saturday, Store Manager Norris Dorsey said.
They helped clean the floors, wash the windows, organize the warehouse, unload a large truck and do some yard work, Dorsey said.
“It made a really big difference in the things that we can get done,” Salvation Army Lt. Jason Moore said. “Just having a helping hand … makes a huge difference.”
Because of the work Fox Troop is doing, the Salvation Army staff can spend less time working on those duties and more time attempting to sell the items at the thrift store, which means more money going right back into the community to help programs feed and clothe the homeless and more, Moore said.
Some members of Fox Troop made the day more meaningful by bringing their children along, including Pfc. Matthew Fejeran and his daughters, Triana Flores, 8; and Brianna Fejeran, 5.
“This brings back good memories,” Fejeran said while cleaning shelves with his daughters.
The three of them are used to doing volunteer work and have done activities in the past, including filling about 4,000 bags of food for people in Haiti, he said.
“We love giving back to our community,” Fejeran said. “It is almost like second nature.”
“It is nice to be doing something,” Triana said.
The day started with an opening ceremony at the Killeen Volunteer Center, 215 W. Ave. D, where Assistant City Manager Glenn Morrison spoke to many volunteers before they started to change someone’s world for the better.
The city will honor those who volunteered their services on Nov. 15 with a banquet at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center.
Contact Mason W. Canales at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7554. Follow him on Twitter at KDHheights.