Sandy Pride Day brings volunteers together to beautify community
Nathaniel O’Driscoll happily chops into the ground to plant trees for his Eagle Scout project at the new Sandy Cemetery extension on Sandy Pride Day. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)
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Sandy Pride Day is celebrating 33 years this year. Originally begun as a service project by Vaughn North of the Exchange Club, the project has been undertaken and supported by the whole of Sandy City and acknowledged nationally and statewide with a signed proclamation from the governor’s office, making it an official calendar day.
“This Sandy Pride project was a community service project, one of many projects that we do. But it’s our big project for the year,” said Mike Coulam, who was approached by the city mayor and joined the Exchange Club in order to be a part of the project in 1984.
Sandy City Parks and Recreation has a lot of projects going on all the time, said Coulam, and there just aren’t enough man hours to ensure the city stays kept up and beautiful. That’s where this project comes in. Volunteers and sponsors from local businesses are connected by a committee tasked with determining community service needs around the city. Some of those projects are keeping up landmarks like the cemetery while others include helping veterans and widows with projects like landscaping, window replacement and painting, projects they might be physically incapable of performing, but with help, can ensure their pride in the community continues.
Members of Boy Scout Pack 3935 from the Fair Oaks LDS Ward, which consists of Wolves, Webelos and Bears, spent the morning moving mulch and planting new flowers at the Sandy Museum.
“This is a project that’s the perfect-size project for this group of 10 boys,” said Cathy Spuck, one of the den mothers. “We think it’s important to teach them to serve their community, and some of them mentioned that this is their first community service project.”
Spuck was glad the Scouts were so excited to come out early in the morning to work hard and use their energy for this project. Boy and Girl Scouts were encouraged to participate and also to earn the special badge that has been created specifically for Sandy Pride Day.
“I’m sure they’ll be excited to drive by in the future and see what it looks like,” Spuck said.
“It’s really fun here and I like to help out a lot,” said Ryker Legerski, grandson of Mike Veenendaal, the troop’s scoutmaster and also the Sandy Pride chair.
At the Sandy City Cemetery, members of the Fair Oaks LDS Young Single Adult Stake went to work removing grass around headstones to make them more visible and cleaner in time for Memorial Day.
“We wanted to do a service project and we like doing the cemetery. Sandy parks and rec are so nice,” said Cydni Tonginosh, who organized the stake group, which included offering a pancake breakfast to participants.
Sandy City has made news recently with the expansion of the cemetery to include an additional 6.75 acres to accommodate the growing population of the city.
“The expansion is beautiful. I was really excited because I have family here,” said Tonginosh.
One of the projects for this year’s Sandy Pride Day was the addition of new trees to add shade to the new cemetery grounds. Nathaniel O’Driscoll decided this would be his Sandy Pride contribution by making it his Eagle Scout Project, calling in his friends from Troop 45 to help. He says since he’s always enjoyed using pickaxes and it’s a lot of work, so this was the project for him.
“I always liked going to cemeteries because it’s peaceful, and I saw this and thought I could help make it more peaceful and beautiful and a better place for people to come mourn and be with family members. It’s been a really good experience,” he said.
Sandy Pride Day has continued to be an example of community togetherness and service.
“I can’t help but feel pride in my community, and I particularly have a great feeling towards those that volunteer to come out and donate a day of their time to help fix up and beautify their community,” said Coulam. “It really does make a difference and I just hope the tradition continues.”