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Chester volunteers make hometown shine

CHESTER — Last year, when the city of Chester held its spring “Make It Shine” cleanup day, 33 volunteers showed up to paint, mulch and landscape at the Chester Upper End Memorial Playground.

Better late than never, the Chester Beautification Committee mobilized Saturday to hold a pandemic cleanup in downtown Chester.

Generally participants are the elderly, who have been deemed the most vulnerable for the coronavirus, so that kept quite a few more aged volunteers home; however, more than 20 volunteers (many families with young children) turned out to fill in the gaps.

According to Joanne Lang of the Chester Beautification Committee, this has been a labor of love for the Chester community and her son Dustin, who serves as president of the group, for more than five years.

It is not a municipal effort but a community effort, which is normally funded by the group’s oldies’ dance held at the Chester City Hall at $10 per person, many dressed in fifties and sixties garb. However, with this year’s pandemic, the event, which is the committee’s major fundraiser, couldn’t go forward.

Saturday’s activities, which included the Golden Grabber and a $25 gift card from Connie’s Corner at stake, went on with what the committee had on hand, Lang explained.

Before the COVID madness hit, the Chester Beautification Committee had been busy cleaning up playgrounds, painting light poles, trash containers and picnic tables throughout Chester.

Mary Ann Wright, who ended up working the registration table despite health challenges, ended up earning the Golden Grabber for her participation, while Scott Mayhew earned the $25 gift card.

Lang said that the group was lucky as the state had sent supplies, like the “grabbers,” up for the spring “Make It Shine Day, which had to be canceled in midst of the pandemic, so Dustin just donned one of the many up with a coat of gold paint for Saturday.

Anyone interested in volunteering with the Chester Beautification Committee can either contact them through their Facebook page or call 304-387-3387.

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