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Bluefield College students serve the community through Operation Bluefield

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Bluefield, VA - Service above self. It’s not just a motto, but a way of life at Bluefield College. From local community service projects to missions abroad, BC students are involved year-round in opportunities to grow as servant leaders.

And, the latest service venture: Operation Bluefield, a fall outreach program that saw more than 30 BC students, faculty, staff and friends give back to the local community, September 26. In fact, the group spent hours volunteering at three local sites, including the Wade Center, Bluefield Union Mission, and the City of Bluefield’s Mitchell Stadium.

“We had a great day of service in the community, and everyone worked hard,” said Meg Quinn, BC’s director of community service who organized Operation Bluefield. “I was honored to work beside them all. All the students that participated were eager and excited to help out and did not mind doing whatever was asked.”

Students at the Union Mission helped serve lunch to locals who needed meals. Among the volunteers: Daria Osborn, Amber Danielle Scoff, Jean Bien-Aime, Khadier Fulcher, Benjamin Bullock, Matt Rhycher, Jon Blakenship, Kenma Jones, Tyrik Campbell, and Jesse Moore.

Students at the Wade Center helped paint a room used for services to middle school students. The Wade Center workers included Bailey Garin, Eryn Haley, Kristen Murphy, Michaela Carter, Kena Denton, Bri Sparks, Morgan Stephans, Courtney Oxford, Linda Flowers, Dr. Marshall Flowers, Allie McCoy, Eli Walker, and Levi Walker.

“The last day of school, we had 150 kids, nearly 35 of them middle schoolers,” said Jesscia McDaniel, director of the Wade Center, which offers after-school programs to disadvantaged and at-risk kids in the community. “Middle schoolers are at the age where a lot of them can choose to go home, and if they choose to go home they may get into mischief. We need to give them a reason to be here.”

The BC volunteers helped with that effort by painting Wade’s middle school room with black chalkboard paint for the kids to draw whatever they like on the walls and to create a fun place for them to come after school. The project was not an easy one, because it required the removal of a surplus of staples in the walls and the application of multiple layers of paint, but the students said they enjoyed it and thought it was well worth their time.

“I think it’s important to volunteer, because it shows that we are able to get out and help the community and help other people and not just yourself,” said Haley, a junior criminal justice major. “I think Operation Bluefield makes a big difference because we’re able to get out and help people and improve our community, because we do live here and we’re able to show we care and not just go to school here.”

Students who worked at Mitchell Stadium helped prepare the stadium for the games of the day. Those volunteers included Molly Bartosh, Amber Gurgunus, Dr. Shawn White, Hannah White, Alexander White, Benjamin White, and Jacob White.

Wet weather postponed Operation Bluefield services planned at Able Pregnancy Resource Center and the Town of Bluefield’s Graham Rec Park. Later this year, the BC baseball team will return to complete work on the Graham Rec fields, and the women’s basketball team will be mulch, weed and plant on the grounds of the Pregnancy Center.

Quinn said that the sites BC visited were impressed with the students, and that as a result of this year’s success she hopes to make Operation Bluefield an annual event with even more sites and volunteers.

“Everyone we served said how impressed they were with us and that we were welcome to come back anytime to help,” said Quinn. “What a compliment for Bluefield College. I thank everyone, and I hope all felt as blessed as I did to serve.”

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