Bearcats Participate in United Way Days of Caring

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University football team participated in the United Way Days of Caring by working to clean-up trails at Wallace Marine Park on Saturday, Aug. 23. Approximately 100 players worked to clear brush and remove trash from the various walking and hiking trails in the park. It was the fifth consecutive year that the Bearcats have been involved with the Days of Caring.

WU's efforts made a significant difference. The players were able to collect several large piles of weeds, trash and debris for removal.

"We cleared out a lot more brush than they (United Way and Wallace Marine Park officials) thought was possible," said Willamette Head Coach Mark Speckman. "They were thrilled."

The Days of Caring are sponsored by the United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley. Volunteers complete single-day service projects in order to clean up and improve building and landscapes at public locations and health and human service organizations in the Salem area.

This year, the Days of Caring went from Aug. 18-23. An added day of community service will take place on Sept. 1, when the entire Willamette University freshman class participates as part of WU's Opening Days. Overall, a total of 1,200 corporate and civic volunteers are involved -- up from 334 volunteers a year ago.

For several years, the Bearcat football team worked in groups of about 10 players during the Days of Caring. This year was the second consecutive year with the entire team working at one location.

Willamette will open the 2008 season on Saturday, Sept. 6 at McCulloch Stadium against Concordia College from Moorhead, Minn. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. (PDT). It will be the first meeting between the two teams.

Grant Piros (left) and Lukkes Gilgan remove bags of trash from a trail at Wallace Marine Park in West Salem.

Grant Piros (left) and Lukkes Gilgan remove bags of trash from a trail at Wallace Marine Park in West Salem.