Updated 05/05/2012 05:10 PM
Volunteers spend day cleaning up mobile home park
Volunteers from across Berkshire County roll up their sleeves for a day of service, helping residents of a mobile home park, devastated by Tropical Storm Irene rebuild. Our Brandon Walker spent time with volunteers in Williamstown as they help clean up The Spruces.
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- Fifteen-year-old Joshua Liporace reflects as he pulls weeds in the front yard of someone he did not know until minutes ago.
"It's nice to give back for once instead of taking," Liporace said.
The Drury High School baseball player gardening with teammates.
"After seeing the destruction that the hurricane brought here, I mean whole trailers had to be taken down," he said.
Those trailers once made up the Spruces, a mobile home park flooded out last summer by Tropical Storm Irene.
In all, 155 out of 225 trailers were condemned indefinitely. Over time, 64 residents returned. Their homes no longer condemned. Donna Putnam is one of them.
"It seemed nothing was ever going to get any better. but as it turned out, the community and all the organizations, the schools, everybody pitched in and helped."
Saturday, that help continued as students from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Drury High School and other groups spent the day painting, planting, cleaning. All part of a service day.
"I can give back and just be out here, giving time," said Danielle Beauchamp, freshman, MCLA.
"It sounded like a good opportunity to see what the community is doing," said Derek Lessard, a volunteer.
The day of service comes as the park's future remains in question.
A pending lawsuit between the park's owner, Morgan Management, LLC, and the State of Massachusetts appears perpetually postponed, pushed back now to mid-July. Despite that, for those who have returned, they say they'll keep cleaning and fighting in the hopes of moving on.
"When people work together, we can make things happen. there's power in numbers and we have to keep fighting for what we believe and what we want," said Carol Zingarelli, a Spruces resident and organizer of Saturday's service day.
What they want, a sense of normalcy. And while the park isn't there yet, the belief is through the help of many here Saturday, they'll get there soon enough.
"Put your heart in the right place and things will happen," Zingarelli said.