Locals respond to Obama's call for service

By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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Many had received e-mails from the Barack Obama Web site, but others just heard about it today. All gathered Monday at the farmer’s market parking lot below the Auburn Courthouse to heed the call to service given by President-elect Obama. “I’m here to answer Obama’s call for community service,” said Anthony Porter, when asked why he showed up. During a speech in Washington, D.C. Monday that honored Martin Luther King Jr., President-elect Barack Obama said, “King’s was a life lived in loving service to others. As we honor that legacy, it’s not a day just to pause and reflect – it’s a day to act.” About 80 signed up with the local Sierra Club to collect trash Monday along Auburn Folsom Road, yet more than 100 showed up. Christina Ragsdale with the Sierra Club, Placer group, was the main organizer of Monday’s cleanup project. “We saw the Sierra Club is partnering with the Obama transition team,” Ragsdale said. “They suggested an urban cleanup. We thought it would be great, so that’s why we’re doing it.” Terry Davis with the Mother Lode Chapter of the Sierra Club in Sacramento also came to Auburn for the trash pickup, which ended up covering more territory than expected. “The original plan was to go south on Auburn Folsom Road,” Davis said. “But since we have so many people we’ll (also) go down Highway 49 from I-80.” There was no age limit on who could participate, from 2-year-old Stella Packard of Auburn to senior Mike Neal of Loomis. Stella headed out to Auburn Folsom Road with her brother Mateo, 4, and parents Sara and Chris Packard of Auburn. Since Monday was Martin Luther King Day, and a holiday for Sara Packard, she decided to come out after seeing the event advertised on YouTube that morning. “We all decided to come out and help,” she said. Neal signed up two or three weeks ago via the Obama Web site, which lists area service organizations by just plugging in your zip code. “Their computer operation is unbelievable,” Neal said before he headed out to pick up trash. “They sent out their e-mail for service and I volunteered for this. I’m so impressed with the online campaign and followup. If you can’t be in D.C., you might as well do something.” Joyce Beeman of Auburn, another participant, discovered the service opportunity about one week ago. “I got an e-mail from Michelle Obama that links to local groups,” Beeman said. By the time they all filled up their plastic bags with roadside trash, a cleaner Auburn Folsom Road and Highway 49 were left behind.