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Beale airmen ‘adopt' and help maintain Olivehurst parks
Lawn machinery noise filled the air on McGowan Parkway on Sunday morning.
But it was music to the ears of Olivehurst Public Utility District officials.
The OPUD-managed Lindhurst Memorial Park got a much-needed cleanup thanks to volunteers from the 9th Reconnaissance Wing's aircraft body shop at Beale Air Force Base while OPUD's general manager, Tim Shaw, and board member Ron Dougherty stood by, smiling.
"When you drive around here, it can get depressing," said Master Sgt. Brendan McHugh, assistant fabrication flight chief, MXS, of the high brown grass and overgrown greenery around him at the park. "The place has fallen on hard times."
McHugh recently took it upon himself to "adopt" Olivehurst parks and recruit volunteers from his unit to help maintain them.
Next week, he plans to gather a crew to tackle graffiti at Johnson Park.
Budget cuts at OPUD have led to reduced maintenance funds for open spaces and recreation areas that fall under the district's domain.
Because the grass can't be properly maintained, said Shaw, the district has aimed to hinder its growth by allowing it to dry out.
But with the work started by McHugh on Sunday, he said, "we could water it a little more."
McHugh's team of 15 descended quickly on the popular family park with lawn mowers, weed-eaters, edgers and pruning shears.
Maj. Lance Myerson, the unit's commander, brought his riding mower to the site and worked to help lighten the load.
"It's kind of our job to give back to our community," said McHugh. In his 21 years of service, he has been stationed in communities that are more affluent, he said, but none so friendly toward the military as Yuba-Sutter.
One of his volunteers, Joshua Robinson, 25, of Augusta, Ga., arrived at Beale from Lake Heath, England, just a month ago.
Olivehurst, said Robinson, looks quite a bit different from the community he just left. But he is more than happy to help bring his new home turf up to speed.
"Gotta give back," he said.
Several businesses donated to the effort too, McHugh noted.
Among them are Walmart in Linda, which donated a gift card for the volunteers to purchase supplies and enough drinking water for volunteers to work through the summer, and Tractor Supply in Yuba City, which donated more than enough premium paint to handle graffiti throughout the area, he said.
CONTACT Nancy Pasternack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4781. Find her on Facebook at /ADnpasternack or on Twitter at @ADnpasternack.