Day of Service in Geneva was a day to remember

On Saturday, 175 Hobart and William Smith College students participated in a Day of Service throughout the City of Geneva, giving back to the community in a variety of different ways.”The only things I can say about the Saturday are that the neighbors are very appreciative of the work done by the HWS students. They did a great job and worked very hard and accomplished a lot a two hours,” said Resident Leader of the Founders Square Neighborhood Association Tony DiCostanzo.“We were also very pleased at the turnout for the dedication ceremony, especially of neighbors and city residents who came to see the bench dedication to Dr. Marshall. It was a great day for Founders Square and all of Geneva,” continued DiCostanzo.Dr. Verne Marshall was honored for his service to leading the restoration project at the Washington Street Cemetery with a bench dedicated in his name. Resident Virginia Johnson has a lot of familial history regarding the cemetery- her great uncle helped to construct the original archway and her grandfather is buried there.“I am glad that someone took an interest in it,” said Johnson. Marshall stated that he enjoyed the historic location, and stated that he didn’t want to see the headstones forgotten. Two of Marshall’s friends, Dr. Paul Bleakley and Dr. Kamill Kovach for over four decades joined him on the new in celebration of Marshall’s honor.“At least I have someplace to sleep when my wife and I have a fight,” chuckled Marshall. Elizabeth, his wife of over 60 years expressed her gratitude and appreciation for the dedication. Jim Schmit, along with twelve-year-old daughter Lauren took on the project of restoring the Washington Street Cemetery flagpole. They repainted the post, installed new hardware and rope, and donated a Civil War era flag for display, appropriate to the age of the cemetery.“You see if someone else will do it, and no one did. So we did,” said Jim Schmitt. “I always saw Dr. Marshall working in the cemetery repairing headstones.”Around 60 students and volunteers attended the dedication and assisted with the raking and debris clean-up of the cemetery during the HWS day of service. Efforts to continue the clean-up at the cemetery are going to continue one Saturday a month from April to September. The Little Library, the restoration of the flagpole, the new historic marker and bench, totaling $2500, were all funded by the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center’s Neighborhood Action Program Grant of 2013. Students from HWS also assisted Hildreth Hill in two of their events- the e-waste disposal held at McDonough Park hosted by e-waste systems and with the clean-up at Brook Street Park. The posts for the tennis court nets were repainted, litter was picked up and fallen leaves and sticks were collected for safety and beautification. The Western Gardens Neighborhood Association and the Castle Heights Neighborhood Association also held clean-up projects- one at Washington Street Park, the other at Lafayette Circle. William Smith students Keira Carmichael, Kelly Craig, and Cornelia Smith loved the beautiful weather and being out with the community assisting with the Washington Street Park project.“On our way here we passed a porch where an older couple was having tea, and they said thank you for giving back to our community.” said Craig. “That really meant a lot.”“There is still so much to do,” said resident Gordie Phillips. “We need people to come out and help more.” Jeremy Wattles, Assistant Director for the Center of Community Engagement and Service Learning at HWS stated, “We love neighborhood association projects because they are meaningful.”Photos by Julie Anderson

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