Looking through the long list of places I have done community services at, the food pantry, the community that was hit by a tornado and the cemetery were the ones that had caught my attention. I knew that all those places were going to be a great choice but I did not think it could make such an impact in my life. Service has always been a large portion of my life, mainly because I went to a Catholic grade school and high school. Every Thanksgiving I went to a local food pantry. When I arrived at the food pantry, I started packing food and prepped them for delivery. When the Thanksgiving trays were ready, I would drive to houses to deliver them to families who could not afford a Thanksgiving meal.
I did a lot of service in order for me to graduate high school. For one of my service projects, the volleyball team and I went to the Kirkwood area to clean up houses after a tornado came sweeping through the town. Showing up to the tornado site was devastating to see. There were families that were crying and saying that they had nothing left of their houses except for the foundation of the house. My team and I spent about eight hours there throwing bricks, pieces of wood, and parts of the walls and roofs of the houses into giant dumpsters. One moment that impacted me was when an older man drove by and told me one of his houses was struck by the tornado. He said to me “Thanks for everything you guys are doing; it means a lot to me and also the rest of the community.”
Another service I did was my class went to this cemetery that was in horrible condition. There were gravestones knocked over, grass up to my hips, and trees that had fallen onto graves. We spent all day cutting the grass and carrying tree limbs to be tossed through a shredder. Fox 2 news showed up to interview the owners of the cemetery and also some of the students who were helping to rehabilitate this cemetery. After we finished for the day, the school received a call from the owners of the cemetery. They wanted to tell our school how much it meant to them, how they received calls from the public saying “how much better it looks, ” and that they wanted us to come back next year.
When I first heard that we had to do community service for McKendree, I was kind of hesitant. I did not want to wake up at 6:45 in the morning to do work. But when I woke up, I realized that this was for a good cause. The service I had to do was for an elementary school. We had to paint curbs that were damaged from rain and tear. Doing this service I did not receive as much of a personal experience, but it was an experience in a wider range. Not only did it affect me, but it also affected the community. I liked painting the curbs because I knew it was an object I can see with a physical change. I would rather do this type of service because I do landscape, and cutting grass is not as meaningful to me since I do it all the time. I am glad I had an opportunity to do this type of service. I really enjoyed it and it also made me closer to my classmates. Community service became not only a chore but was it was rewarding. It helped me understand that I do not have to do service just to receive feedback.
By Josh Thum
I am volleyball player at McKendree University. I enjoy playing golf in my free time.