By Travis Morgan
Despite tragic events last week, Orem citizens gathered together Saturday, Sept. 15, to serve their community in Take Pride in Orem Day.
In one project, local businesses and residents teamed up to build a new dining pavilion adjacent to Orem Junior High School.
Although volunteers had been working on the project since the beginning of August, approximately 300 people gathered Saturday to clean school grounds, lay new sod, add sidewalks and install lights in the new public pavilion.
Project manager James Skousen said most volunteers came with a new kind of enthusiasm.
“In lieu of the events last week, people have been reenergized in support of trying to help and make a difference in the community,” Skousen said. “Although they cannot fly back to New York and help with the rubble, they serve America right here.”
However, organizers were initially unsure about whether they should hold the event so soon after the events last Tuesday.
“We considered canceling,” said Judy Pentelute, Timpview public affairs director, “but we really felt it would be good to bring communities and people together.”
Several BYU students were among the residents who assembled to help.
Amber Madsen, 20, a junior from Orem majoring in computer science said, “It is cool to see all these different people – people who I don”t even know – come together for a common cause to help out the community.”
Jacob Given, 23, a senior from Long Beach, Calif., majoring in accounting, worked on steps to the new pavilion. “It”s pretty exciting. It is great to see so many people here,” he said. “I imagine this is one of the largest volunteer undertakings the City of Orem has ever had.”
The event also drew the attention of Orem Mayor Jerry Washburn, who attended and praised those involved.
“We are thrilled to see citizens working with the school district to make their community beautiful,” Washburn said. “This is something we can use as a prototype for other projects.”
Orem Junior High had purchased a kit to build the pavilion two years ago, but they needed volunteers to help build it, said former Vice Principal Cecil Tuley.
Local businesses and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Orem Timpview Stake stepped up to the challenge.
“There have been 15 businesses here in Utah County that have donated, not only materials, but the labor for this project,” Skousen said.
“When businesses heard what we were doing, they were more than willing to offer the services needed,” he added.
Other residents participated in community service projects at Geneva, Hillcrest, Sharon and Cherry Hill parks, as well as around the Orem Fitness Center.