Volunteers spring into action

After filling up on donuts and breakfast burritos, volunteers from around Portales sprung into action Saturday to help renovate the Recreation Center as part of Comcast Cares Day.

The majority of the volunteers came from Portales High School's cheer, track, tennis and softball teams. According to Candra Reynolds, coordinator for the event and a Comcast representative, both the Recreation Center and participating high school athletic teams will each receive a grant from Comcast ranging from $1,500 to $5,000 in addition to the $2,000 spent on renovation supplies for the day.

Jillian Holbert: Portales News Tribune

Portales High School softball players Bailey Shillings and Amanda Schmidt painting the walls red in the gym area of Portales Recreation Center on Saturday for Comcast Cares Day. Comcast will be giving a grant to the participating PHS athletic teams.

Even though the event started at 8 a.m. on a non-school day, students wasted no time and got straight to work setting up tarps to paint the workout room an electrifying red.

"We definitely need to give back," said Robbie Crowley, the PHS softball coach. "A lot of them have used the Rec Center and truthfully, most of our kids want to help."

More than 225 volunteers showed up and although the workload was heavy, there were plenty of helping hands and a little free time to have some fun. As a show of camaraderie, the students joined in to sing "Wanted" by Hunter Hayes.

Although the high schools students played a big role in renovations, other volunteers from the community came to show their support. Mother-daughter team Diane and Sasha Parker spent the day learning how to operate a scissor lift and replacing ceiling tiles.

Jillian Holbert: Portales News Tribune

Portales High School cheerleaders Caitlyn Hendrichs and Anja Tech plant flowers in front of the Portales Recreational Center as part of beautification efforts Saturday during Comcast Cares Day.

"There's two buttons that go left and right on top of a lever that moves the lift up and down," said Sasha. "It's not like a joystick but it's fun after you get the hang of it."

Donna Barrera helped replace the wood of an old picnic table. Her daughter, Dominique, has been going to the Recreation Center for four years and she wanted to give back.

"She has a great time here and I think Jodi's (Center Director Kibbe) doing a great job building the program and I just wanted to come out and help," said Barrera.

After four hours of painting, planting flowers, picking up trash, digging up trees, raking dirt, assembling tables and replacing ceiling tiles, the Recreation Center was looking new and ready for another year of hard play.

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