ALPENA -A group of about 50 Air National Guard personnel wanted to do something special for the community while training at the Alpena Combat Readiness Center. During a break in the exercises at the base the unit took on a project Thursday that helped improve the condition of two homes located on the US-23 South corridor.
Before the unit left for Alpena to begin its training it decided it wanted to do something in town that would help improve it and the life of residents of it. Habitat for Humanity was contacted and from there Habitat Director Stacy Todd helped put together the project of painting the two homes.
Todd said the support received from the Air Guard unit was much appreciated and the improvements made to the homes will help the overall goal of making the south corridor more appealing to the eye.
"The wanted to do some type of project while they were here in town as a way of giving back to the community for everything it had done for them during their time of training," Todd said. "It just seemed like the perfect fit with the US-23 cleanup effort and all the steps that have been taken to make this side of town a little nicer.
"We sure appreciate the extra hands and feet to help clean up the area. I think the effort is beginning to pay off. I notice the difference just driving through the south corridor. It used to appear run down, but now it is like springtime. It is like a rebirth and it is coming alive."
Lt. Col. Daniel Sutch was busy on top of a ladder scrapping old paint from the house. He said the unit knew after the schedule for its training was released that it would have a day with some time to burn. It was decided to do something Alpena would benefit from and a Habitat project was agreed upon.
"We saw there was going to be a lull in the action and we wanted to do something constructive. The idea of doing a Habitat project came up and everyone liked and supported the idea," Sutch said. "It is a good thing for us to do. To come out and make a positive contribution. When we got here the local chamber of commerce hosted an event for us and had a nice spread. Not only is the community taking care of us, but we are able to do a little something to show it some appreciation in return."
Larry Clark, who is a helping to spearhead the US-23 cleanup project, said he appreciates the time the soldiers put in to help spruce up the homes in the corridor. He said more volunteers are stepping forward and more projects are slated to take place. He said he has also noticed an improvement in the conditions on US-23 South.
"Really the community as a whole has stepped up to support the project. Volunteer groups, organizations and public officials have all been very supportive. A sense of community spirit is spilling over into the project," Clark said. "It has only been one year since we started this effort and I'm amazed at how things have gone and the progress that has been made.We still have a long list of projects we want to do and right now we are just scratching the surface, but I think the businesses are doing a great job of keeping things cleaner and I believe motorists are not throwing trash into the road. It is cleaner and we want to continue to keep it that way."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com.