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  • Last modified 139 days ago (May 2, 2019)

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Tampa native thankful for volunteer opportunity

Staff writer

When Tabor College football player Barrett Smith showed up April 24 to volunteer at Parkside Homes, he said he wanted to show teammates the opportunities that exist in Hillsboro.

“Everybody gets to interact with the community,” he said. “I’m sure half of them didn’t know this existed. We went out back and some of them said, ‘Holy cow, I didn’t know there was this part of Hillsboro at all.’ ”

The Tampa native says he has worked the annual volunteer day each of his years at Tabor, including last year at Hillsboro Community Hospital. He said this year was his favorite.

“We’re not all compacted into a small space,” he said. “We met a lot more people, and it makes all of us care more.”

Seeing the college students participate is heartening after more than two decades as a Tabor employee, resident Irma Koop said.

“I worked at the college in the kitchen for 26 years, so it means a lot to me,” she said.

The choice to help at Parkside was suggested by receptionist Rochelle Heimann, whose husband is the team’s offensive coordinator.

“Having anyone come and assist, it’s fantastic,” she said. “We’re excited to have young people come out and help.”

The timing for the event was convenient because Parkside was preparing to tear down old apartments, but needed them cleared out first, Heimann said.

“The first step is clearing all of that,” she said. “We have years of clutter built up.”

Cleaning out old apartments wasn’t the players’ only task. They also pulled weeds, and washed windows at the duplexes.

“It’s nice that they did that,” she said. “It was helpful because I hadn’t gotten out there yet to do it.”

While it was a mandatory team event, having all of the 65 players show up was impressive, Smith said.

“Everyone chose to show up,” he said. “Some people might be graduating and they’re still going to come.”

Having the players get to know residents is important because it gives them a deeper appreciation, Koop said.

“It’s important to get to know those in the community,” she said. “We support the college.”

While interacting with the students is important, Koop said she didn’t want to interrupt the players working on her windows.

“There were having such a good time just the two of them,” she said.

Last modified May 2, 2019

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