Hundreds participate in fourth annual Serve Day
By Jacob Hatcher
For the Enquirer
More than 300 volunteers from 15 organizations met in front of the train depot on Railroad Street in preparation for the 4th annual Serve Day, presented by Corum’s Building and Farm Center this past Saturday.
“Serve Day originates from Church of the Highlands in Birmingham but has become a beloved national event,” Jaime Hatcher, director of programs and events for the Hartselle Area Chamber of Commerce said. “It’s an opportunity for churches, nonprofit organization, and businesses to come together to make a difference in our community by completing service projects in our area.”
Before volunteers dispersed to their respective work sites, a pep rally was held to begin the day’s events. YouTube sensation Destin Sandlin began the ceremony with an inspirational speech. Sandlin’s speech was followed by comments from Hartselle councilwoman Virginia Alexander, county commissioner Randy Vest, Rep. Scott Stadthagen and Sen. Arthur Orr. A flag ceremony was performed by Hartselle Boy Scouts of America Troop 336, and recent Wallace State graduate Hannah Watson performed the National Anthem. The ceremony was closed out with prayer from Walter Blackman, pastor of East Highland Baptist Church.
Since its inception in 2019, Serve Day has been a way for the citizens of Hartselle to give back to the community in various ways. This year projects were completed at area schools, private residences, food pantries and recovery centers. One such recovery center was Lifesource, a residential recovery program consisting of three houses, all located in Morgan County. At Lifesource, volunteers built a large flower box near the entrance, as well as building much-needed shelving for the facility’s food pantry. These new shelves will allow Lifesource to safely store considerably larger amounts of food in order to better meet the needs of Morgan County, according to Lifesource staff.
“The neatest part of this is that it was organized by the residents themselves, not something we required them to do,” director Robin Ladner said. “It’s a great part of recovery to be a part of serving others, and also a great experience to see people come together that we don’t even know to sacrifice their time and finances to help us.”
Speaking on the help that Serve Day is to area schools, Hartselle Intermediate School principal Earon Sheats said the impact is physically evident, but also demonstrates there is power in numbers.
“We can accomplish great things when we unite together towards a common purpose,” Sheats said. “Some of the projects completed at various schools were landscaping and painting of classrooms and libraries, helping to spruce things up for the students’ return in a few short weeks.”
In addition to the organized service opportunities around town, the owner of a local landscaping business also volunteered his time and resources mowing lawns free of charge.
Jenny Denton has coordinated Serve Day with Ashley Thompson for the last three years. For Denton, the best part of her participation in Hartselle’s Serve Day is seeing so many people from different churches, businesses and organizations come together for a common cause.
“The sense of accomplishment of the men, women and children who serve is seen in their smiles at the completion of their projects,” Denton said. “This is what God’s purpose is for my life and so many others. What life is all about.”
The 4th annual Serve Day was made possible, in addition to the volunteers who gave cheerfully of their time, through sponsorships from Rep. Scott Stadthagen, Meagan Jones of Marmac Real Estate, Redstone Federal Credit Union, Diamond Pro, Hartselle First United Methodist Church Youth, Hartselle First Assembly of God, Magnolia River, Thompson Homes, Forever Kate and Habitat for Humanity of Morgan County.
“This annual event is one of the Chamber’s favorite events,” Hatcher said. “Serve Day truly demonstrates the heart of Hartselle.”