volunteers in the news

Helenans help out on Spirit of Service Day

By ANGELA BRANDT Independent Record  | Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 12:00 am

For Peg Barnekoff, personally taking down a fence or painting her home’s foundation a hue of dark green are not options. Although she donates her time for other seniors in the Helena area, since being diagnosed as legally blind, there are many tasks she simply cannot perform.

On Monday morning, a group of volunteers returned the favor by clearing the fence, cleaning out her gutters and even washing the windows of her North Montana Avenue home.

“It’s just awesome. They are wonderful. It helps out so much when you need help,” Barnekoff said as a crew from J & J Tire Factory worked diligently.

As one of the volunteers indulged in the iced tea and cookies she had made, Barnekoff explained, “It’s the least I could do for all the things they are doing.”

Barnekoff’s was just one of 58 households that benefited from painting, weeding and scrubbing during the 13th annual Spirit of Service day. That’s about 20 more than last year. This year more than 420 volunteers donated their days to help their neighbors.

J & J Tire Factory tagged along with a crew last year and became a partner organization this go-around along with sister company Capital City Tire Factory. Crew leader Bob Fox said all of the workers will receive pay from the company, allowing them to participate without penalty.

“It’s community,” Fox said, while taking a break from working. “It’s very satisfying for our employees as well.”

The partners provide manpower, cash and supplies. In the weeks leading up to the big day, they work alongside the homeowner, who is chosen through an application process, to map out chores.

“You just make a list of the things you need,” Barnekoff said. “I hope everybody applies for it next year.

The assistance is free for homeowners. The chores must be for the exterior of the home or yard.

Other partner organizations are Anderson ZurMuehlen, Rocky Mountain Development Council, Employee Benefit Resources, American Federal Savings Bank, the city of Helena, Walmart, Heritage Propane, Morrison-Maierle, St. Peter’s Hospital, Student Assistance Foundation, Mountain West Bank, Allegra Printing and Imaging, Rocky Mountain Credit Union, Sherwin Williams and Universal Athletic Service.

Home Depot, NorthWestern Energy and The Treacy Foundation also participated by providing materials and funding grants.