40-plus Farragut vols plant Girls Inc.’s trees

Tom KingFarragut

Kirby Deal made the ask. Scott Bertini said “we’ll be there” and proceeded to assemble a team of approximately 40 volunteers from the Rotary Club of Farragut and the Pellissippi State Community College (PSCC) Rotaract Club for a Saturday tree-planting party.

Deal is the executive director of Girls Inc. of the TN Valley in Oak Ridge, and they had a need, a common sense and security need wrapped together. She asked if our club would plant 32 Leyland Cypress trees for the agency along their property bordering the Oak Ridge Turnpike to help shield their girls from passersby and vehicles. The planting party was on Saturday, April 23.

If you’re not familiar with Girls Inc., here is a Cliff’s Notes version about this busy and effective agency. Girls Inc. of the TN Valley, formerly known as the Girls Club, began in 1976 as a girls only sports program. Initiated by strong community advocates, Girls Inc. quickly grew into an afterschool outreach program, with a summer camp, a break camp and sports programs for girls ages 5-18.

Flash forward to 2000 when Girls Inc. opened a new campus to include a full center for girls, sports fields and a lot more. Girls Inc. has grown to become an integral part of Anderson, Knox and Blount counties, serving more than 1,300 girls per year and the ages now are 5-14. With 19 outreach sites, its focus is in four areas – harassment, teen pregnancy, poverty and missing school. Their program topics deal with health issues, education and independence.

Bertini, Farragut Rotary’s service project leader, and his team prepared the ground, dug the holes and mulched for the 32 trees in less than two hours. At 9 a.m., Farragut Rotarians and six members of the PSCC Rotaract club began the work and were done by 11 a.m.

“It was an incredible project that will make a big impact. Rotary is all about showing up, and today we knocked it out of the park,” Scott said. “I want to thank everybody for their hard work and giving up a Saturday morning to help!”

A fun memory is the work of Rotarian Sonya Ford that morning. When it was auger time, this woman stepped up, grabbed that auger and began digging. The guys were amazed. “The Auger Queen” was crowned. “That was something else to see,” Bertini said. “She was man-handling that auger like it was nothing.”

Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and was the editor of two newspapers. Suggest future stories at tking535@gmail.com or call him at 865-659-3562.

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