Volunteers inspired, assisted residents grateful after day of service

It seems like such a small task, but not to those who are on the receiving end.

A healthy Lycoming College student scouring the side of a porch badly in need of a scraping and painting.

That’s what Trent Lee, a sophomore from Williamsburg, and Chris Kish, of Wilkes-Barre, the college football team’s linebacker coach, were doing when the Sun-Gazette stopped by the house on Scott Street Saturday.

They were among the 72 or so players, led by defensive Coach Steve Wiser, and Head Coach Mike Clark.

The guys fanned out across the city and county to spend a day of community service.

It was all part of the Favors Forward Spring Cleanup program.

These young men, just a week away from their final examinations, each dedicated more than four hours to assisting families struggling through major life hardships, said Beth McMahon, a program coordinator and a professor at the Department of Health Science at Lock Haven University.

For Matt McGinley, 21, a senior from Ashland, and a quarterback, it was his second year out and he said it built team chemistry and give something back to the community.

Last year, McGinley said students saw the lingering effects and devastation of Tropical Storm Lee from the flooding that happened two years ago.

“We pulled a camper out of a bank in Montoursville,” he said.

McGinley and the guys thought it was so inspiring that they decided to go out this year to assist senior citizens and others having hardships.

“It hits you in your heart,” he said. “It makes you not afraid to do it again.”

The student athletes gathered outside the college in the parking lot and were distributed apples, cookies and chips to get the energy needed for the cleanup crew assignments.

Favors Forward has a network of more than 200 volunteers, and the college players contributed to much of that amount.

“They cleared out my back yard, cleaned up around the front in the flower bed and put mulch down,” said Carolyn Perry, of Rural Avenue.

“They did a wonderful job and were very nice,” Perry said.

Perry said she’s been a city resident for more than 25 years.

“I was displaced from the Williamsport Regional Medical Center (area) with the building of the new YMCA,” she said.

Perry said she had to move out of her former place on Spruce Street.

In addition, the organization itself has helped her prior to the cleanup, during her time of struggle after her daughter suffered a near fatal disease.

“Favors Forward is wonderful because, in August, my daughter had a virus that causes death,” she said. “She almost died. She was in a medical coma for three weeks. In September, I was unemployed and funds were tight. Favors Forward came through for months by helping me with food.”

Favors Forward Foundation, which has a mission to provide a network of volunteers utilizing their time, talent and treasures, assists children and adults in Lycoming County.

Many of these recipients are facing life-changing hardships, such as job loss, disability, illness, death in the family, domestic violence, separation and divorce and fire, flood and natural disaster.

The focus is on individuals and families who are not receiving ongoing assistance from other agencies and organizations.

As she thought about the word the young men performed Perry remarked, “I think it’s a wonderful organization and it really helped me.

She continued, “If I can put out a good word for them I will because they really helped me at a very crucial time in my life.”