“You don’t get to help here too often,” said the St. Paul High School freshman, who enjoys making a difference.
“We’ve been cutting down a lot of the dead trees,” added Schaffer, who made many trips with a wheelbarrow Monday.
And what a difference Schaffer and other students made. They cut and trimmed trees at the Conway Dog Park, filled in various holes on the property and added stone to the park entrance.
“It gets pretty muddy without the stone,” said Jennifer Evans, the HCHS treasurer who worked with the nearly 30 St. Paul students.
Joining the teenagers were six employees from the Air Force One Community Foundation. The statewide mechanical contractor was established in 1984.
The general manager from the Toledo office is Bob Stang, a 1987 St. Paul graduate and a lifelong Norwalk resident. He has three children who attend Norwalk Catholic School/St. Paul — his twin sons, Aiden and Ashton, 11, and his 15-year-old daughter Kennedy. His oldest son, Christian, 19, graduated from St. Paul last year.
“We employee about 200 people,” Stang said, referring to Air Force One.
For three “service to others” days each year, Air Force One employees volunteer at the charity or organization of their choice. In addition to the landscape work at HCHS, three technicians helped fix mechanical issues in the building.
The St. Paul students earned points toward their community service, a requirement for graduation. Senior Sierra Mushett didn’t need to earn any more credit, but helped out Monday regardless.
“I really like working out here,” she said. “I really, really love animals.”
Mushett started volunteering for the HCHS in the fall, so doing landscaping Monday on behalf of St. Paul was a perfect combination.
“They want the best environment for the animals,” she said. “Everyone’s out here, putting in work and having a good time.”
Sandra Parrella has been a HCHS volunteer for about two months. She said she enjoys helping the agency, but added it’s also “therapy for myself because I’m an animal lover.”
Parrella was asked what Monday’s volunteer work means for HCHS.
“Everything,” she said, noting the experience probably will mean more the students.
After all, she said “it’s about helping others without asking for anything in return.”