ELYRIA - Despite the drizzle, hundreds of volunteers of all ages took to the streets Saturday throughout the county to clean up their communities as part of Lorain County Pride Day.
Elyria Boy Scout Troop 107 was busy cleaning up the area around the fountain at Ely Park, alternating between sweeping up debris and chasing each other through the fountain`s spray.
Charles Gullett, 8, a second-grader at Prospect Elementary, said he was having fun with his friends.
"I`m here to clean up my community so the park can be clean for other people," Charles said.
His scoutmaster, Thomas Nichols, said the day`s work will also count toward the Scouts` Wolf Badge.
Site Director Don Denevic of the Church of the Open Door said his church had 300 volunteers all over Elyria planting flowers and tidying streets.
Diane Camera, an Open Door member and Amherst resident, said it`s always more fun to do something for someone else.
"Our church members want to be the salt and the light to the people," she said of her efforts as she swept the sidewalk along Broad Street. "We want to lighten up the world. You have to do your own, but it`s kind of fun to do somebody else`s."
Camera said the bad economy has forced cities to cut parks and recreation budgets and she imagined Elyria, where her church is located, needed the help.
Judy Nedwick, a volunteer with Main Street Elyria, was busy planting flowers in the 47 concrete planters throughout downtown.
"I`m here to take pride in my city," she said. "We`ll do as many planters as we can."
Fondie Perkins, a volunteer with Main Street Elyria and the Active People of Elyria Parks and Recreation, said Pride Day is about giving back to the community.
"We wanted to help clean up," Perkins said. "I think it`s very important and more people should take part. There are all kinds of services the city provides for everyone no matter what age they are. It`s about giving something back."
Boy Scouts were busy in Sheffield Township as well. Troop 324 from Vincent Elementary School tackled a cleanup and painting project at the township fire hall.
"We stripped and painted the fence around where the township stores some equipment and planted some geraniums," said Scoutmaster Eugene Rehoreg, adding that his Cub Scouts were also using Saturday`s volunteerism toward earning a patch and a badge.
"They`ve all been very helpful," he said of the rambunctious group, a few of whom took a break from painting to wrestle in the grass.
Six-year-old Paul Harwood was very excited about getting to paint.
"I like painting because I painted a Derby car, and I like fishing," Paul said.
Logan Homler, 6, liked planting the flowers best.
"We planted a whole bunch of colors and the flowers will look beautiful in the summer," Logan said.
Eight-year-old Johnathen Rehoreg recognized the significance of Pride Day but may have had additional motivation Saturday.
"It`s to make our community look good," Johnathen said. "If not, people won`t come here. I like that we planted flowers and we`re getting pizza."
In Lorain, Mayor Tony Krasienko, Public Safety Director Phil Dore and several members of the Lorain Youth Baseball team Krasienko coaches tackled the walk-over bridge at East 42nd Street and Grove Avenue.
"I just wanted to help out and cover up all the graffiti," said 12-year-old Alex Pigman, a student at St. Peter.
Twelve-year-old Luke Krasienko said he wants Lorain to look nice - and not just because his father is the mayor.
"I thought it would be a good thing because there`s always a lot of graffiti around here and it doesn`t look good for Lorain," Luke said. "We need to make it look like Lorain, Ohio, is a good place to live."
In Avon Lake, the board of trustees for the historic Folger House beautified the landscaping.
Trustee Pam Hoffman tidied flower beds and prepared them for additional plantings.
"This is a historical part of Avon Lake that deserves to be shown off with pride," Hoffman said. "We are making it desirable for the community to enjoy."
Contact Alicia Castelli at 329-7144 or firstname.lastname@example.org.