09/22/09 — Volunteer puts paint to railing at city park

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Volunteer puts paint to railing at city park

By Steve Herring
Published in News on September 22, 2009 1:46 PM

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Wayne Denning grew up in Goldsboro and still has fond memories of Herman Park. After noticing on a recent visit that the railing around the "Lady in the Park" needed sprucing up, he volunteered to paint it.

Wayne Denning, 60, has fond memories of boyhood days spent playing at Herman Park and riding the Kiwanis Club's miniature train with his brother.

Denning knows that others share those same kind of memories and is hopeful that they, like he did, will volunteer at the park so that future generations will be able to enjoy it, too.

Goldsboro Recreation and Parks Department director David Carter shares that hope.

Carter, who has only been on the job for just over two weeks, said one of his top priorities will be to compile a master list of volunteer opportunities.

"Yes, there are a lot of opportunities," Carter said.

Over the next 90 days Carter will inventory the city parks to compile that list looking for projects suitable for volunteers -- individuals and groups.

Several years ago, the city attempted an Adopt-a-Park Program, but for whatever reason it failed to take off, he said. Carter plans to revisit that idea.

"One thing that is important is that there has to be a single point of contact and you have to be ready to help groups and individuals," he said. "You have to know how to match up skills and talents with volunteers.

"For example, there are good opportunities for Eagle Scout projects. I have a long history with the Scouts and know what good work Scouts do."

While it will be the end of the year before the list is ready, people should not hesitate to call to volunteer, he said.

Call 739-7481 for details on what projects are available.

Denning, a Wayne County native now living near Clayton, works with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.

"I lived in Goldsboro until I was about 6 or 7 years old," he said. "I played on Sunday afternoons here all of the time. The train I remember riding on had just been put into place. What I didn't know was that while I was playing out here in the park, my future wife was out here and I was not to meet her until 15 years later down near the coast."

His future wife's family later moved to Greenville, but her maternal grandparents lived on Ash Street near the park. So when her family came to Goldsboro, she came to the park and played.

Recently his wife's family met at local restaurant and the children wanted to ride the train. It was then that he noticed the railing around the fish pond.

"When I came over here I was noticing that a little bit of community support and a little bit of volunteerism would go a long way," he said. "The top rail in particular was pretty worn and you could see several layers dating back years.

"I painted the top railing all of the way around and then came down on the rails in places, painted other parts, but I have gone around with a scraper and got the rust spots off. I am going back and prime those, and then if I don't get to finish then the park employees will finish up behind me."

The park provided the paint, he said.

Denning said he spent about nine hours painting before taking a break to trim bushes near the Kiwanis train area.

"I am going to be back and I want to challenge people to come out here and look for these small projects," he said. "The staff has 11 parks, I believe, it has to maintain and they don't have the chance to do the fine-tuning that the public would appreciate. That is where we need people to come and volunteer their time. I guarantee they would enjoy it.

"This is really the first time I have ever volunteered to do something except through church activities. I really enjoyed it and plan to keep on doing it."

The good deed also helped bring back some fond memories, Denning added.

"When I come here and I am out here I enjoy the atmosphere that I remember as a child so it is a little bit like going back in time. There have been some changes, refreshingly not that many and the park still looks good."