Sunday, August 17, 2008

Remembering Sacrifice

For the past four days, Vinton has hosted the traveling Vietnam Wall Memorial. This is a one-half replica of the Vietnam Memorial. There was an opening ceremony on Thursday and a closing ceremony today. The picture above shows the memorial and some of the attendees at the closing ceremony.

Having served in the military, I am familiar with serving our country and the sacrifice that comes with that service, sometimes the highest sacrifice. It is numbing to walk up to this memorial and look over the many names of those who made that sacrifice. I highly urge you to visit the Washington D.C. memorial. It is breathtaking as you look at the names and see reflections of the Capitol building, the Washington Monument and yourself in the black granite. It makes you proud of your country and the service of our men and women in the military.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

AmeriCorps Induction

This past Monday, the first group of AmeriCorps volunteers were inducted into the Corps. This means they passed the initial training and are heading out to do some great things in Iowa. They have helped Vinton out so much over the past month and a half, it is hard to comprehend it all. Team leaders helped to run the emergency shelter during the floods and other volunteers helped with cleaning up the river, repairing the railroad depot roof and clearing brush along the riverbank near the recreation area. I am heading over soon to the Braille School to talk with a coordinator about some other opportunities.

When they were inducted, the volunteers cited a pledge that read:

I will get things done for America to make our people safer, smarter and healthier.

I will bring Americans together to strengthen our communities.

Faced with apathy, I will take action.

Faced with conflict, I will seek common ground.

Faced with adversity, I will persevere.

I will carry this commitment with me this year and beyond.

I am an AmeriCorps member and I WILL GET THINGS DONE!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Cedar River Clean Up

I cannot believe it has been over a month since I posted my last entry. I do not know where July went. All I know is that it flew by. We have been extremely busy with flood recovery along with the normal things and projects that were in the works for this year.

One of those projects that was organized by the city's chamber of commerce, Vinton Unlimited (VU) was a Cedar River clean up. Those of you who are familiar with Vinton's location know that the city is located right next to the Cedar River. Many residents use the river for boating, fishing and other recreational activites.

VU organized a clean up effort to help get rid of a lot of the junk that has collected through senseless dumping and items that floated down the river from the recent floods. The group of volunteers worked through heat indexes reaching above 100 degrees to pull things out of the river basin like tires, barrels and even a kitchen sink. The picture above shows Vinton Mayor John Watson and a Vinton resident, John Moody rolling a barrel out of the river.

Much of the work to organize the event was done by VU executive director, Tami Stark.