09/12/08 — Days of Caring kicks off today

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Days of Caring kicks off today

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on September 12, 2008 1:50 PM

Volunteers gathered at the Wayne County Courthouse this morning to build enthusiasm before tackling a variety of community service projects that will be part of the annual Days of Caring sponsored by United Way.

Speakers at the 18th annual event's kickoff were Bill and Jan Edgerton, the 2007 Wayne County Outstanding Volunteers of the Year and winners of the North Carolina Medallion Award for volunteering.

The Edgertons helped initiate the Habitat for Humanity chapter in Wayne.

"Volunteering should be a lifestyle," Edgerton said. "By doing what you do, you will benefit and our community will also benefit. There is joy in serving and helping people when you see the smile on their faces."

During the kickoff, United Way board president Jane Rustin gave statistics from last year's event.

Nearly 5,000 individuals and 10 animals were helped through the various projects, she said.

And more than 1,337 volunteers participated in 37 projects for 22 agencies, giving a total of 2,583 hours of service at a dollar value of $48,483.

Volunteers also donated $11,944 in materials for projects.

Ms. Rustin said Days of Caring is another example of how Wayne County people can take care of each other.

"That's what this day is all about," she said.

Mayor Al King read a proclamation from the city and Sue Guy read one from the county commissioners.

Mrs. Guy, chairman of this year's event, reminded people that it is not too late to sign up to volunteer to help with programs and projects around the county.

Edgerton said he is glad he decided to become a volunteer.

"It fit right into my thinking," he said. "I feel we benefit from the community we live in, so we need to give back."

Just like a young man inspired him to.

He related a story about a the man, paralyzed from the waist down, but still a Habitat volunteer.

One day, as volunteers were putting flooring down in a Habitat house, Edgerton saw that the young man had rolled his wheelchair out and was holding a chalk line for another volunteer.

"He was doing what he was able to do," Edgerton said. "It shows me that everyone can volunteer."

To volunteer or to get a list of projects, call 735-5151, ext. 336, or visit www.volunteerwayne.org.