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The City Journals

Sandy residents remember 9/11 with massive coordinated service projects

Oct 04, 2021 03:19PM ● By Heather Lawrence

A Homecoming Dance or a day of service? These Alta High students think you shouldn’t have to choose, so they incorporated the Day of Service on Sept. 11 into their date activities. (Brooke Christensen/Sandy City Council)

By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]

A National Day of Remembrance and Service is recognized each year on the anniversary of Sept.  11. On the 20th anniversary of the attacks, Sandy City came together in projects big and small to give service throughout the month.  

“I was asked to coordinate all of the service projects that were planned during September for the National Day of Remembrance and Service. In total, it involved about 4,000 Sandy residents. It was a huge project, and so cool to be a part of it,” said Sandy City Council member Brooke Christensen. 

Christensen was contacted by religious and civic groups from all over Sandy. Sept. 11 itself turned out to be a rainy day off and on, which kept some people away. But Christensen said the turnout makes her proud to be part of the community. 

“I was contacted by and worked with numerous LDS stakes, the Well Church, Community of Grace Presbyterian, K2 Church, the Catholic Church’s women’s group, The Utah Islamic Center, schools, political leaders and candidates, the Dimple Dell Preservation Committee and many others,” Christensen said. 

Christensen said that the service given by residents honored the idea of the day—people from different backgrounds coming together to serve and celebrate what unites them. 

“In addition to the people from all different churches and other groups, I saw people of all ages  from babies in strollers to elderly people in their 80s and 90s working together,” Christensen said.   

A group of students from Alta High School had their Homecoming Dance that night, but decided to incorporate service into their activities that day. They helped clean up the Sandy City cemetery. 

The statistics of the projects were impressive. Sandy residents worked through the rain and filled 1,400 sandbags which weighed 31 tons. There were three food drives across the area for the Utah Food Bank. The total combined donations exceeded 10,000 pounds of food.  

A big contributor was the Dimple Dell Preservation Committee, which is active in the Sandy area. Joyce Walker is on the DDPC Advisory Board. 

“I was contacted by three different local stake leaders from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These leaders have organized for many months with the DDPC. They came out and helped us find and remove the invasive plants in the canyon. Garbage bags and dumpsters were provided by Parks and Rec crews,” Walker said. 

The DDPC provided color charts to helpers so they could identify the invasive species in the area. 

In addition to the service cleanup project, the DDPC held a fundraiser for a Sandy project they’re passionate about—restoring the historic Muir/Poulsen home in the Granite area of Sandy. 

“The fundraiser went very well. Katie Peterson, the resident artist, provided a string trio of musicians. Her husband set up a pottery wheel and people were able to turn/throw pots. That was a big hit,” Walker said. 

The Muir-Poulsen house, located at 2940 E. Mount Jordan Road, borders the Dimple Dell recreation area. Service there is always welcome. In addition to the planned service in September, there are opportunities several times a year on the property to clean up, winterize, remove invasive species or care for the historic orchard. 

“We are trying to raise the funds to make a community learning center here—there are a lot of things that the old structure could be used for. It’s made with the same granite blocks as the Salt Lake City Temple, so we believe it’s worth restoring. 

“We have a Muir-Poulsen pear preserve jam we’ve made from the fruit trees in the historic orchard here. It’s coming back to life after many people have donated time and service to restore it,” Walker said. 

Those who donated to the preservation fund were given a jar of the jam. 

Christensen said she knew she could count on the DDPC to be a big help for the service projects in September. “They are always so organized. We really appreciate working with them on this and other community service projects,” she said. 

Walker’s team’s cleanup efforts carried over to Sept. 18. In addition to cleanup, volunteers also handed out door hangers to homes near Dimple Dell Canyon. The door hangers went over fire safety and what residents can do to prevent fires in our area. 

“The DDPC is very appreciative of all the support given on these community service projects. We are so grateful that people want to volunteer to help the beautiful Dimple Dell Regional Park,” Walker said. 

Christensen was also touched by the willingness of people in her community to serve. 

“The feedback I got was that people were just so glad they could get out and help the community. They want to feel connected and help their neighbors,” Christensen said. 

When she thinks about why a day of service is a fitting way to remember Sept. 11, 2001, she said she’s been thinking about it a lot. 

“Sept. 11, 2001 was a day that changed our lives forever. But I’ve heard, and I agree, that the people we were on Sept. 12 showed an unbelievable expression of love and humanity. That’s what the day of service does. 

“It builds on the same spirit we felt on Sept. 12, 2001—working together, growing as a community, having a common goal and putting aside differences. When everything feels so divisive, service can make a huge difference in our community,” Christensen said.