Story and photo by Rick Emert
About 500 volunteers turned out to clean and build a dog park at Iron Horse Park Saturday for Make a Difference Day.
Soldiers, Family members, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and about 80 U.S. Air Force Academy cadets took part in Fort Carson’s 20th Make a Difference Day, said Joey Bautista, Installation Volunteer Program coordinator, Army Community Service.
“This is a day designed to celebrate volunteerism,” he said. “The Make a Difference Day program is a way for people to give back to their community.”
Volunteers raked leaves across the entire park, accepted electronics for recycling, cleaned common areas in two housing areas, painted restrooms, tore down the fence surrounding the amphitheater and cleaned an area for a new dog park at Iron Horse Park.
“My wife and I have wanted a dog park on post for a long time, so I’m glad to help out with creating one here,” said Spc. Matt Wilcox, 52nd Engineer Battalion.
The dog park will include paths for the dogs, decorations such as fire hydrants and an area for pet owners to sit while their dogs run in the park. There also is a pet waste container for use when cleaning up after dogs, Bautista said.
Iron Horse Park was chosen as this year’s project by Garrison Commander Col. Robert F. McLaughlin, Bautisa said.
“A lot of Fort Carson residents have asked for these changes to Iron Horse Park, and now they are helping to make it happen,” he said.
For some people, like Cynthia Carter, the event was an opportunity to help young people learn about giving back.
“This is a great event. I haven’t done it for a few years, but this year
I brought all of my grandchildren here so they could learn about community service,” she said.
“This kind of thing is well needed and a bit too infrequent,” said Amy Isham, a Family member whose husband and children also participated. “It’s a really good act of service, and a good dose of humble pie. It helps us teach our children how we should give to one another.”