Volunteers clean up park in Philadelphia's Point breeze section on 9/11 day of service

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On Friday, Sept. 11, also recognized as a national day of service and remembrance, Wharton Square received some much-needed attention from volunteers who pulled out invasive trees and cleaned the green space in Philadelphia's Point Breeze section.

"It's a three-acre park. It's an old park," explained Lydia Currie.

"With the COVID-19 crisis, these big maintenance projects will not happen with the parks and recreation budget. So, we're back to individuals cleaning up the park," said Currie, a member of Friends of Wharton Square.

Currie explained that the Travis Manion Foundation brought some veterans to volunteer and connected them with a team from AmeriCorps NCCC FEMA Corp, including Georgia Byers.

"To kind of give back to the community and work alongside veterans just seemed like an important thing to do- to kind of remember what happened and those who lost their lives," Byers said.

"I basically joined the Army right after 9/11," said Charlie Elison, of Travis Manion Foundation.

Elison shared the mission of TMF - to empower veterans and families of fallen heroes to develop character in future generations. He said TMF works to unite communities on Sept. 11.

"We've got thousands of U.S. Service members who paid the ultimate sacrifice in both 9/11 and the war since, so we're out here today to honor the legacies of all of those brave soldiers who lost their lives on 9/11 - the first responders, the community members, the people who were just going to work," said Elison.

With the pandemic, finding volunteer projects can be a little more difficult, but with being outdoors, these folks can help the community and remember.

"In-person events aren't as common, and the six-foot distance makes it a lot harder," Byers said. "So, we're glad we found this one and could help out outside."

"You can't ever fix what was destroyed, but you can preserve things that are in danger, and you can create a better future, and that's what this day of service is about for us," Currie said.
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