Nearly 1,300 people volunteered over 2,000 hours Saturday in Leh and helped transform the 9/11 anniversary into a day of doing good. Lehi Serves, a local coalition of businesses, faith-based groups, and government leaders, planned various projects, which included outdoor beautification service at several parks and trails in Lehi and an indoor service fair hosted by Adobe at its Lehi campus.
Saturday’s event began with an opening honor ceremony at the Lehi Veterans Memorial Building. Former Utah Governor Gary Herbert spoke, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes led the pledge of allegiance, and two Lehi and Skyridge youth leaders gave inspirational messages. Music included a rendition of Amazing Grace by a local bagpipe trio, and a brass quartet performed the Star-Spangled Banner. At the conclusion, the community scattered to serve citywide.
At Adobe, hundreds showed up to cut fabric and tie quilts, stuff and sew teddy bears for children, sand and paint toy cars, write letters to first responders, and fill backpacks with donated school supplies.
Russ Babcock, community outreach program manager for Adobe, said, “Adobe is committed to doing the right things for the community. Adobe values social impact and programs to make a difference within its communities. Hosting this event is the perfect opportunity for Adobe to engage with the community and unite us to make positive changes. I am so glad I have had a part in organizing this event and so grateful that so many have shown up to serve.
“This event is so important; I was a child when 9/11 happened, and I remember the dark feelings that day. I also remember 9/12 and how this country united and became stronger together. I have since learned about the impact that tragedy had on our country, and this is a way to unite, be stronger, and not forget what we are capable of as a community.
Many families with young children arrived at the Adobe facility ready to serve. Children were ecstatic to sand wood for toy cars and stuff teddy bears. Young and more mature volunteers worked together to tie quilts, and many took the time to write a “thank you” to first responders.
Lehi High School student council officers hosted a letter-writing campaign for first responders. Student body officers Malia Blackwell, Preston Howard and Cole Dunford spent the morning at Adobe encouraging the community to write letters of appreciation.
“I feel like the first responders, police and firefighters in our community do not get enough recognition. We need to show our gratitude to them. Seeing the community come together and write notes to them is so awesome. This is a great tribute to those who serve today and for those that served on 9/11,” said Blackwell.
Hadley Veenker, who is 11, spent her Saturday morning sanding toy cars for underprivileged children with her family.
“I wanted to come today and help. I just learned this morning how to sand the toy cars and prep them for painting. This is a great way to serve because we are helping other children have something to play with. It is important to serve so that others can feel loved and not feel so alone,” said Veenker.
Jacob Johnson spent several hours working on various projects to “give back” to the community. “One of my friends invited me to come and participate today, so I did. It has been fun helping others who need it. Today, I have written letters for first responders, stuffed teddy bears, and sanded toy cars. I have also met some great people.
Lehi City showed up to do good deeds. As a community, we can change people’s lives. It starts with kind acts of service,” said Jacob.
Lehi City Mayor Mark Johnson said, “This has been a fantastic day. We have had an incredible turnout, and everyone seems happy to serve. People are working hard all over the city. Someare shoveling, digging and cleaning up at the parks and the cemetery. I’m so impressed with what I saw at Adobe. So many people are working together to tie quilts, write letters and serve in different ways.
“This is important for the citizens of Lehi; this event allows us an opportunity to serve together. There are so many people and families that are working hard. Children are moving rocks and pulling weeds, and it is hot outside. At Adobe, children are stuffing teddy bears for other children. People are tying quilts for those in need. Families are being strengthened, and our community is uniting to serve others. I have always believed that volunteerism makes us better, and this is what is happening today.”
Doing good deeds as a community has transformed September 11 into the most significant day of service in Lehi City and across the country.
“9/11 was a traumatic event for our country. Being here today and serving sends a good message that we can change and be better,” Jacob Johnson added.
Over 1,300 people showed up to serve at the various locations throughout Lehi. Saturday’s event is the second year of the citywide 9/11 Day service.
“We need to credit those who work on the Lehi Serves committee. They have done an amazing job organizing such a big event for our city. I could not be more pleased with our community. There are smiles on everyone’s faces today,” said Mayor Johnson.