Hands on Henry sweeps through county

McDONOUGH — Baloo the black bear and Doc the tiger looked on curiously as more than 103 volunteers came to assist Noah’s Ark Saturday morning as part of Hands on Henry.

“Oh it was great, we had kids playing, no ‘working,’ in the creeks,” laughed Noah’s Ark co-director Charlie Hedgecoth. “So you always get the macho guys that want to work a little bit and get muddy, then you get the girlie-girls that don’t want to get dirty and supervise the macho guys, but it all works out because with that number of people you’re able to really knock it out and get it done quickly.”

In fact, Hedgecoth said one young man got so dirty, his mom wouldn’t let him in the car without a trash bag to protect the seat.

Volunteers helped Noah’s Ark clear the creeks in the bear and tiger habitats. They cleared out sticks, brush, stumps and old debris that floated down the creek after heavy rain storms so the animals could use and enjoy the water.

Hedgecoth said they are grateful to Hands on Henry because with that many volunteers they can knock out bigger projects quickly, resulting in a shorter lock-down of the animals.

“You get to work for Noah’s Ark, and literally you’re working this close to a tiger,” he said. demonstrating with his thumb and forefinger.

Hands on Henry made its way throughout the county Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon providing much-needed service to nearly 27 different sites.

People extended a helping hand and loaned their own supplies to schools, cemeteries, churches, non-profit organizations such as Noah’s Ark and more.

Leadership Henry’s 15th annual Hands on Henry Day of Service included projects that ranged from planting flowers, basic landscaping and sprucing up facilities and grounds.

“It meant the opportunity to accomplish some projects and tasks that might otherwise not get done,” said Diane Ide with the Henry County Chamber.

Leadership Henry is a program that builds leadership qualities, provides education and insights while fostering a network of team spirit and cooperation in accomplishing common goals. It culminates each annual class with a “Hands on Henry” day of hands-on community service.

“They are a lifesaver,” said Noah’s Ark founder and co-director Jama Hedgecoth.