Volunteers strive for better Redford

Part of the I-96 service drive is looking better recently, thanks to a small, determined army of volunteers.

On Saturday, for the fourth time in two months, those volunteers — a group called At Your Service — spent most of the morning picking up trash, whacking weeds and generally improving the I-96 service drive, from Telegraph to Sarasota.

“We collected 54 bags of trash,” said Tom Rayburn, spokesman for the group that started at the South Redford Christian Church and evolved into the Christian Alliance of Redford. “It’s not finished yet, and we’ll be back. We’ll probably do it again next year.”

The cleanup involved as many as 25 people, mostly from churches affiliated with the alliance.

“It was actually fun,” said the Rev. Lee A. Williams, pastor of the Merciful Ministries of Jesus Christ that moved to the township in June. “We picked up a lot of paper and cut a lot of weeds.”

Several passers-by stopped to ask questions and subsequently to thank the volunteers. Among them was Pam Provenzano, who was so impressed, she decided to join.

“I was walking my dog and I saw people working along the service drive,” she said. “They really did a good job. The service drive looked so much better.”

Provenzano, who manages a law office in Ann Arbor, doesn’t have much time. “I don’t know the extent of what they (the volunteers) do,” she said. “But if they do things like that, I’m willing to help.”

Provenzano has lived in the township for 54 years. “I want Redford to be as clean as I remember it,” she said.

The volunteers undertake a variety of projects, Rayburn explained. The group doesn’t have any particular criteria for undertaking a project, he said, except the end result must help people and the township.

“We haven’t had to turn any project down yet,” he said. The group, he predicted, will just continue doing good work. “We help where we can.”

As for anyone who wants to join, Rayburn said, “We’re a Christian-based organization. But we welcome anyone willing to work.”

Previous projects have included helping seniors with their homes and repainting the Old School House in front of the Post Office — now the office of the Redford Township Historical Commission.

“They did a great job,” said Arvilla Moore, a member of the commission and a charter member of the Historical Society. “They came out for five or six weekends. It was a lot of work.”

Township Supervisor Tracey Schultz Kobylarz agrees. “Tom Rayburn and his group of Christian soldiers are making a huge impact on the elimination of blight on the I-96 corridor,” she said. “It is an excellent example of how church and state can (and should) work together.

“The hundreds of volunteer hours have improved the look of the corridor and increased the safety of drivers and pedestrians.”

As Read on: http://www.hometownlife.com/article/20110929/NEWS16/109290617/Volunteers-strive-better-Redford?odyssey=nav%7Chead

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