|T. Lucas photo|
From out of the quagmire, a request came from The Town for volunteers who might form a community beautification group. 20 people came to the meeting. 7 of them formed the “Pincher Planters”. Their mission: to create some beautiful flower beds within this spirit-broken community.
There was a sod-turning. A load of topsoil was delivered. Contributions of plants were donated by garden enthusiasts and by the greenhouses in the area. The fledgling group began digging and planting. They started in the Cenotaph Park, and developed a new bed around the “Pincher” sculpture after which the community is named.
Those volunteers, over the past 20 years, have tenaciously involved themselves in the “Communities in Bloom” challenges and have involved the whole community. Over the years the judges have presented awards for regional, national and international recognition.
This year 24 beds have been cared for in 8 spots around town. There’s been an average of 700 – 800 volunteer hours per year. One of the original volunteers has remained faithful throughout, while new helpers have brought fresh enthusiasm.
I love to see them like a flock of robins hunkered close to the ground digging, weeding, chuckling and standing to stretch tired backs and knees.
When a forum of regional leaders met several years ago, our mayor described how the work of the Pincher Planters made it possible for the community to start healing after our time of devastation.
There’s a Chinese proverb about flowers leaving some of their fragrance on the hands that bestow them. What a blessing those flowers have been to we who enjoy them, and to those who have worked so hard to brighten our streets.
Volunteers are one of our rural communities’ richest blessings.