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Sprucing up Westside Park on MLK Day of Service
As Redmond City Council member Hank Myers gazed into one corner of Westside Park on Monday morning, he had a look of pride in his eyes.
In that section of the local park, 36 student and adult volunteers worked away and cleared out heaps of leaves and branches to spruce up the area. Myers deemed Green Redmond Partnership’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service a success.
“What I think that really has been great is the general service concept: going out and serving your community in whatever way you can,” said Myers, echoing King Jr.’s famous quote, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’”
Added Redmond resident Glenn Eades, one of the forest stewards: “This is a great day and we’re getting a lot done. It’s a huge turnout. I think people really like to get out and do something useful.”
Myers feels it’s gratifying to witness the Green Redmond Partnership and Forterra programs grow dramatically over the last several years. They no longer produce just four or five park service events a year; they now get out into the community 11 months out of the year.
“It’s made a big difference in our parks,” Myers said.
King Jr. changed Myers’ life in the 1960s and he calls the leader of the African American Civil Rights Movement the greatest American of the 20th century. He was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tenn.
“I was raised in the (Bay Area) of California and I didn’t realize this in high school, but I had friends whose families had been redlined. There was blatant discrimination even in California. I lived in Boston and it was blatant there and then I lived in the South,” Myers said. “I actually got fired from a job (because) I suggested that we hire a black worker. I think that message of equality and opportunity is the most important message we still carry forward.”
Deniz Terek, who attends The Overlake School in Redmond, was one of the students participating in Monday’s day of service.
The freshman enjoyed his time helping out at Westside Park, but is also moved by King Jr.’s message about how people of every ethnicity and religious belief can thrive.
“I believe that he had a huge impact on everybody in the community; not only his community, but everybody else about what people can do in their lives,” Terek said.