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franklin county times

AmeriCorps team not hindered by hot weather

By Staff
MERREHOPE MAKEOVERn AmeriCorps team members, from left, Josh Kristy of Fairfield, Conn., and Sara Morton of San Diego paint the porch of Merrehope during one of their four projects scheduled for the next two weeks. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star.
By Sheila Blackmon/The Meridian Star
A strong dose of Southern heat and humidity didn't hinder an AmeriCorps team of nine working at Merrehope and the F.W. Williams Home Tuesday.
Clad in shorts, T-shirts and tennis shoes, and hair plastered to their foreheads with sweat, the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps team painted porches, bathrooms and cleaned out closets all day.
AmeriCorps teams work in several community-related areas: environment, such as trail building and urban tree restoration; education, such as tutoring and school renovation; human needs, such as support for veterans and child immunization; and, public safety and disaster relief.
Morton said her favorite project has been trail building and exotic plant removal "carrying a machete and herbicide."
Dallas Van Winkle of Safford, Ariz., said she enjoys working with children. Both agree historical restoration at Merrehope is a project to remember.
She said she entered AmeriCorps right out of high school.
Hunter Hope of Brookhaven said being part of the AmeriCorps team is "a learning experience." The hardest project for him, and the one that taught him something very important, was tutoring elementary school children. The project was at Goose Creek, S.C.
Then he grinned.
Before arriving in Meridian, the team also worked for the Salvation Army's Angel Tree in Nashville, Tenn., the Preservation Resource Center in New Orleans, the Department of Environmental Protection at the Charlotte Harbor Buffer Preserve in Punta Gorda, Fla., and for Habitat for Humanity in Tarboro, N.C.
Remaining in Lauderdale County until July 24, they will also complete projects at Lake Okatibbee and Archusa Water Park and for Habitat for Humanity.
Sheila Blackmon is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call her at 693-1551, ext. 3275, or e-mail her at sblackmon@themeridianstar.com.