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United Way Day of Caring and 9/11 remembrance bring out best in volunteerism

By Genelle Pugmire - | Sep 10, 2021
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Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and Keith Vorkink of BYU visit prior to 9/11 remembrance on Sept. 9, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)
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Combined Honor Guard with Provo Fire and Police at the United Way Day of Caring 9/11 remembrance at Provo First Station 2 on Sept. 9, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)
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Honor Guard raising flag at Day of Caring 9/11 remembrance on Sept. 9, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)
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Oak Canyon Junior High choir singing national anthem at 9/11 remembrance on Sept. 9, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)
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Rev. J. Keith Cupples joins other community leaders in signing pledge to honor the lives of those lost by coming together in unity, compassion and service in our community on Sept. 9, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)
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Provo Fire and Police officers during flag ceremony at 9/11 remembrance. Sept. 9, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)
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BYU volunteers work to clean the Community Action Potluck Kitchen on Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Nate Edwards)
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An Orem Police officers leads STEM and reading activities at Parkside elementary in Orem on Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy United Way)
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Day of Caring volunteer helping out at Community Action Services ad Food Bank in Provo on Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Nate Edwards)
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BYU volunteer leads STEM activities with Liberty Hills Elementary students in Lehi on Sept. 9, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)
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Mitch Ottesen joins Provo city volunteers doing yard work at Alpine House on Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Nate Edwards)
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Provo City employee serving at Alpine House. Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Nate Edwards)
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Day of Caring volunteers paint "Choose Kindness" motto on Mt. Mahogany Elementary playground in Pleasant Grove on Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy United Way)
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BYU volunteers painting picnic table at The Refuge. (Courtesy United Way)
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Revere Health and Zions Bank employees put on puppet show at Early Learning Essentials, formerly Mountainland Head Start. (Courtesy Nate Edwards)
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People volunteer at Just for Kids in Lehi. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU)
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Intermountain Healthcare volunteers painting playground games at Mt. Mahogany Elementary in Pleasant Grove on Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy United Way)
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Children play with Revere Health and Zions Bank employees at Early Learning Essentials in Provo. Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy Nate Edwards)
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Orem city firefighters volunteering at Family Support and Treatment Center on Sept. 9, 2021. (Courtesy United Way)

It is fitting on this week of National Day of Caring events, culminating with the 20th anniversary of 9/11, that the United Way’s continuing theme is “Live United.”

On Thursday, United Way of Utah County and 1,300 volunteers from 26 Utah County businesses spent their time serving at 50 project sites from Eagle Mountain to Santaquin, according to Scott Barlow, CEO of Revere Health and United Way board chairman.

“This year’s Day of Caring is especially meaningful as it marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11 and is a part of the National Day of Service and Remembrance,” said Bill Hulterstrom, United Way of Utah County President & CEO.

United Way Day of Caring kicked off Thursday with a flag ceremony, in partnership with Provo City, to honor and remember those who lost their lives 20 years ago.

“We want to be able to honor the 20th anniversary of 9/11 by coming together in unity, compassion and service in our community,” Hulterstrom said.

“It felt so right to get together to remind us we can get together in this world,” he added. “We need to reflect on how we came together 20 years ago and if we could do it again if needed. Let’s not wait for the next tragedy for us to come together.”

In her remarks at the morning memorial service held at Provo’s new Fire Station 2, Mayor Michelle Kaufusi, visibly emotional said, “It is with heavy hearts that we think back on the events of 9/11. The images of that day are seared into our minds. Many of us remember the feeling of gloom that day. To many people, it seemed that we might never experience peace and security again.”

“How grateful we are for the American heroes that helped us that day and in the days that followed, from the ordinary citizens who made the bold decision to fight the terrorist who had taken over the cockpit of their flight — to the firefighters and other public safety workers who rushed into the flaming towers — to the military heroes who fought to protect us in the hours and days and years that followed,” Kaufusi added.

She thanked the heroes of 2001 that did what was required so the people of today are living, “in an America that has not been overcome by terrorism and darkness but instead remains a land of liberty and safety.”

“We also pause today to express our thanks to powers that are greater than any human’s. From the beginning, this has been a country that trusts in and relies on more than human power,” Kaufusi said. “In America, it is ‘in God we trust.’ So allow me to also express the thanks that so many of us have in our hearts … to God, for blessing us through our darkest days and helping to bring us safely to this moment.”

Kaufusi asked those attending and watching online to never forget the darkness of Sept. 11, 2001, nor the importance of the heroes who protect the communities, states and country as a whole. She added to also remember the importance of the divine in protecting each person and the nation.

In the hours after the memorial service, volunteers painted, landscaped, taught school children, spruced up playgrounds, organized food banks, read to children, created additional work spaces for expansion of community programs and more.

“We are so grateful for companies like Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University, Duncan Aviation, Intermountain Healthcare, and others who make service an important part of their workplaces,” Hulterstrom said. “It is so wonderful to work with partners who recognize the value of reaching out to others in the community, especially during times like these.”

“United Way’s Day of Caring is the best day of the year! Our organization would never be able to access the resources and support to complete these service projects without the help of corporate volunteers and United Way. I am always impressed by the energy and enthusiasm of employees as they dedicate their time to service. The service volunteers give in one day is more than our organization could do alone in 365 days,” said Cheryl Adamson, Executive Director of Recreation and Habilitation Services.

While Day of Caring comes once a year, volunteers are needed on a consistent basis. Children always need love, adults always need positive support, organizations always need some form of help. If you would like to be involved in ongoing volunteer opportunities you can visit http://unitedwayuc.org.

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