MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

May 7, 2013

OSB volunteers pitch in to serve community

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— TAHLEQUAH — Although he admitted he was dressed “like a laboratory experiment,” Oklahoma School For the Blind freshman Logan McCoy made the most of his trip to Tahlequah.

McCoy and more than a dozen other OSB students and faculty traveled to Tahlequah on Monday as part of the school’s “Give Back Day.” McCoy’s group picked up trash along the Illinois River, then came into Tahlequah and cleaned up sections of the creek that runs through Sequoyah City Park.

McCoy, clad in a yellow jumpsuit and rubber boots, happily trudged down steep embankments and through the cold creek waters with the assistance of OSB senior Josh Reid, OSB science teacher Cheryl Daniels and band director Chris Ferrell.

McCoy gripped Reid’s arm as Reid — who did not have the benefit of rubber boots — walked through the water and helped locate discarded trash.

This is the second year OSB students have participated in the community service event. Daniels said the river was “cleaner than they expected,” but they were still able to fill up their bags.

Reid said he appreciated the chance to help the area, and — pardon his bluntness, he asked — he had a message he wanted to give out:

“We may be blind. But we’re helping. Why aren’t you?”

Other groups of students planted flowers at Kids’ Space, walked and brushed dogs at the Muskogee Animal Shelter and entertained residents at Eastgate Village Retirement Community in Muskogee.

Daniels said it’s nice not to be the one receiving help.

“We receive a lot from the public,” she said. “It’s good to be able to give back.”

Although the students gave up a field trip to volunteer for the community service projects, they received something in return, Daniels said.

“It’s about getting them out of their box, outside of their comfort zone as well as to let the community know that they are capable,” she said.

“We had some places that we asked to help and they replied with ‘Well, what can they even do?’ Well, this is showing people what they can do.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.