After cleaning up local parks, the grounds of a nonprofit agency, and the Marshfield Pioneer Cemetery, Oregon’s Bay Area Beautification volunteers got a little smaller over the weekend. end when volunteers cleaned up a veteran’s yard.
Penny Moloso, a board member for the organization, said she is always looking for new ways to give back to the community and make it a little cleaner.
“The need here came from Krystal Hopper, and she kind of spread the word here to help John and his wife, Diane,” Moloso said. “We helped them weed and clean trees and plant trees.”
John Thomas joined the Air Force in 1962 when he was just 17 years old. He served as a ground radio operator, spending 13 months in South Korea, monitoring the border DMZ and North and South Korea.
She served four years before being honorably discharged in 1966.
Thomas and his wife have a house with a large yard on the outskirts of Coos Bay, but as they have aged keeping up with the gardening work has become a challenge.
So Moloso and other Oregon Bay Area Beautification volunteers joined in to help. Rain delayed the cleanup for a week, so attendance was lower than usual, but those who came went straight to work.
They cut down trees in the yard, moving the branches into a pile at the back of the yard. Moloso, herself a disabled veterinarian, was only able to help with weeding, but she diligently pulled weeds from the walkway near the front door.
Before leaving, the volunteers even planted two rhododendrons to add to the landscape.
“It’s a different kind of cleaning than what we normally do,” Moloso said. “It’s something we will do again in the future. But we’re already booked until almost December.”
Moloso was one of the first beatification volunteers from the Oregon Bay Area when Elizabeth Chu came up with the idea. She said she joined the effort to help improve her home.
“I’ve lived everywhere and everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve tried to join a volunteer organization to do my part,” Moloso said. “It’s a good way to meet like-minded people.”
Moloso grew up in Oregon, but left the state when she joined the service she left and never planned to go back. But in 2014, she got married, and she and her husband took their honeymoon on a 10-day camping trip along the Oregon coast.
Moloso said when they crossed the North Bend Bridge, they fell in love and knew they were home. Three years ago, they found their dream home and moved in.
“No matter where you live, you can always clean up,” Moloso said. “The more we as a community see what a small number of people can do and what a difference it makes, that will help. I would like to see neighborhoods cleaned up.”
Oregon Bay Area Beautification will return to clean up John Topits Park on its second Saturday in July.