A week of caring
Daniel Hooper, a junior at Rutherford Early College High School, had a couple of reasons to be involved in the recent Week of Caring initiative. He is considering a career as a manufacturing engineer, so designing and building a handicap ramp was part of his senior project.
“It allowed me to understand the planning and building roles of a manufacturing engineer,” said the 16-year-old son of John Hooper and Alisa Blanton. “Most importantly,” he added, “I was allowed to give back to the community in a great way, to the glory of God.”
Daniel was one of 302 volunteers who adopted projects all over Rutherford County – from Cliffside to Union Mills – as part of the annual Week of Caring.
The Week of Caring has been an annual collaboration between United Way of Rutherford County and Rutherford Housing Partnership since 2001, said Faye C. Hassell, executive director of United Way. The Rutherford County effort takes place the two weeks surrounding National Make a Difference Day in October.
Volunteers provide urgently needed home repairs for senior adults and those with disabilities; United Way buys materials. Volunteers also help senior adults and nonprofit agencies that need yard work and household cleaning.
This year’s volunteers helped 13 senior adults with yardwork, including major clean-up projects at two locations; built seven handicap ramps; helped five agencies get needed yard work or other assistance; and even provided health checks for the Senior Center. They also replaced a roof, cleaned up Rails to Trails, and replaced two doors.
“All this work makes a difference to the families, the agencies, and, overall, to the spirit of this entire community,” said Nell Perry Bovender, executive director of Rutherford Housing Partnership. “I know all we hear are good comments from both recipients and volunteers.”
United Way evolved on the premise of "many hands make light work,” Hassell said. “As individuals we probably don't have the money or means to make a huge difference in our community. However, together we can pool our money and talents and make a significant difference. That's one of the reasons why United Way has been so successful over the years. We pool our money and volunteers to make give big punch that has a significant impact.”
Those involved in this year’s Week of Caring were:
Companies: Isothermal Planning & Development Commission, Lowe's, Maple Leaf Construction, Republic Services, Road King, TD Bank.
Families: Tina Mosley & Jakiya, Kurt & Penny Ann Parker family, Lee & Paula Roach family.
Individuals: Ed & Jeanette Bosgra, Alan Henderson & Daniel Hooper, Preston Byrd, Dennis Danner, Don Harris, Natasha Hays, Billy Honeycutt,David Leslie, Rudi Ligon, John Stroud.
Groups: Allen Drive neighborhood, American Legion Post 423, ICC Student Government Association, ICC Student Nurses, Parkway Behavioral, Project Challenge, R-S Central’s JROTC, Rotary Club of Rutherford County, Rutherfordton Kiwanis Club, Rutherfordton Lions Club, The Women Roofers and Youth Empowerment.
Churches: Adaville Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, Cliffside Baptist, First Baptist, Forest City; First Baptist, Rutherfordton; Forest Lake Baptist, Gray’s Creek Baptist, Lake Lure Baptist, Mountain View Baptist, New Bethel Baptist, Pleasant Hill Baptist, Smith Grove Baptist, Spencer Baptist.