Twenty-four people got a helping hand this weekend and some three dozen Sonora High football players got a lesson in serving others.
“I cannot emphasize strongly enough the teamwork, positive attitudes, ability and energy the Sonora High football team brought to this event,” organizer Jim Sells said.
The event was the Day of Service, organized by the Catholic Charities Mother Lode Office. Senior citizens and the disabled were helped with springtime cleanup chores outside their homes.
Sells said he especially wanted to thank coaches Ed Pelfrey, Dan McHoul, Rocco Pallante and Bryan Craig for making the day a success.
Some volunteers who had planned to attend couldn’t make it and others stepped up, he said. The volunteer crew that worked consisted of 36 Sonora High football players and coaches, six volunteers from the community and four staff members of the Mother Lode Office of Catholic Charities.
Community volunteers were Mark Eilrich, John Moore, Peggy Debely, Steve Happel, Linda Happel and Susan Sells.
Assistant Sonora High coach Jim Mele, who also happens to be sheriff of Tuolumne County, delivered donuts to the volunteers Saturday morning.
“This is a leadership project for the kids,” he said. “It helps them learn leadership, responsibility and putting others before themselves. That’s an important part of team training.”
Deborah Montz, a mobile home park resident helped by the teens, called the event a blessing.
”I don’t even know how I got chosen for this,” she said as she watched several football players dig into her yard and remove all of the overgrown foliage, “but it really helps. I don’t know how I would have gotten it all done without them. I’ve been in and out of the hospital lately with five heart attacks, three cases of congestive heart failure, and now they tell me I have Crohn’s disease. I can’t thank them enough, and the manager of the park will be really happy.”
Sells said things didn’t go quite as smoothly as he would have liked. They were short of tools at times, for instance, but nothing serious went wrong, and the energy levels of workers was really outstanding.