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Volunteers show they care

September 12, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

EASTERN PANHANDLE, W.VA. - Volunteers hauled old furniture out of an arts center, built a ramp on the home of a multiple sclerosis patient and cleaned a free medical clinic Tuesday as part of the United Way's annual Day of Caring.

During the event, volunteers helped community agencies and individuals with projects that require a little extra muscle, time or expertise.

More than 1,000 volunteers from local businesses, civic clubs and other groups fanned out across Jefferson, Berkeley and Morgan counties to tackle 110 projects, said Trina Bartlett, spokeswoman for the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle.

At The Arts Centre at the intersection of King Street and Maple Avenue in Martinsburg, W.Va., volunteers from Quebecor World printing plant in Berkeley County and ITW Sexton hauled old metal furniture and room dividers out of the former government building, said Shelley Aikens, program manager for the arts center.

Workers tackled projects despite rain, including building a deck and a ramp on a house at a home in Falling Waters, W.Va., where a multiple sclerosis patient lives, Bartlett said. Crews hope to return to the home Saturday to finish the work, she said.

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At the Eastern Panhandle Free Clinic on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Charles Town, W.Va., volunteers cleaned the facility and divided medication into 30 doses.

The clinic receives medication in bulk that needs to be divided to be dispensed to patients, said Stacy Mayville, a patient resource specialist.

The clinic is a bustling place where the patient load has significantly increased.

When the clinic opened five years ago in a building on Fifth Avenue in Ranson, it was open one day a week and was seeing about 20 to 30 patients a day, clinic officials said.

Now, the clinic that offers medical care free to its clients is open five days a week and is averaging about 200 patients a week, clinic officials have said.

"The good cleaning they did we hardly ever get (to)," Mayville said of the volunteers' work.

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