A brighter day for Steamboat Springs

Helping hands pitch in for community

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— It isn't every day that one can find bankers washing windows or golf pros hauling boulders and digging their fingers into dirt. Of course, Wednesday wasn't every day: it was the Day of Caring, a day when local businesses and other volunteers chip in to brighten up the community.

Organized by Routt County United Way, which acts as the umbrella organization for a number of social service agencies, the Day of Caring kicked off Wednesday morning with about 280 volunteers throughout the county pitching in.

The volunteers, which included the entire sixth grade from Steamboat Springs Middle School, spent the day planting trees, fixing up the botanical Gardens and renovating homes for low- and middle-income residents.

The Day of Caring is in its fifth year of recruiting community members from businesses such as Wells Fargo and The Industrial Company and getting them to do community service for a day.

At noon, the volunteers met for a lunch provided by the Ski Town USA Lions Club at the Steamboat Springs Community Center.

Millie Beall, the executive director of Routt County United Way, said the event is essential for local community service organizations, because it allows them to get a lot of good work done pro bono and involves a large spectrum of the community.

"The focus of the Routt County United Way is to build a caring community," Beall said. "This emphasizes all the things people can do on their own or as a group to make their community better."

Jim Miller, a golf pro at the Catamount Ranch and Club, spent the morning moving boulders at the botanical gardens, where volunteers did everything from raking thatch to building rack walls and rose gardens.

At Hilltop Village Apartments, which consists of affordable rental units owned by the Regional Affordable Living Foundation, the Wells Fargo volunteers were renovating an apartment with the help of Habitat for Humanity.

Chip Ravenscroft, a founder of the Ski Town Lions Club and the Routt County United Way, said the event was a good chance to "get youth into giving and the community service aspect of citizenship."

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