Day of Service volunteers give back to Tri-Cities (w/ gallery)

Volunteering was a family affair for many of the 2,600 participants in the Day of Service on Saturday.

Community service projects throughout the region offered families a chance to bond, and for parents to teach their children the value of giving back.

"I hope they learn it's important to give time to your community," volunteer Scott Frewing said of his two sons, Aaryn, 12, and Izaak, 10, who helped replace picnic shelter roof tiles and move broken concrete pieces in Kennewick's Lawrence Scott Park.

"As you donate and serve the parks, you have a greater respect for them," Frewing said. "They are going to be more thoughtful of our community and do things to keep it nice."

The Day of Service is an event started by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Washington, Oregon and Idaho to honor and remember those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and who lost their lives in the service of the country.

The church, with about 20,000 members in the Tri-Cities, invited the public to help. Last year, about 2,000 people participated in the Tri-City area.

About 2,600 participated this year in the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla and Hermiston, organizers said.

About 30 volunteer projects were completed in the Tri-Cities -- many involving cleaning or making repairs to parks and public facilities -- and 674 people benefited from a clothing and household item drive.

Volunteers also helped seniors with projects at home.

In addition to helping his church, Aaryn Frewing used the time to fulfill a requirement for Boy Scouts as he spent the day helping his dad, while dodging hornets that had nested in the picnic shelters' eaves.

He said he was scared to be on the roof at first.

"I wouldn't go near the edge," Aaryn said. "Now it's no big deal."

He learned not only about community service, but what is quite literally an important rule of thumb from watching an experienced roofer slip with his hammer.

"You have to be careful when you're pounding nails," he said. "The other guy had blood running down his index finger, but he just kept going."

The Hare family also found the Day of Service to be a constructive bonding experience. Father Curt and son Michael, 16, worked side-by-side busting concrete that needed to be replaced around some trees.

Some of the work was old hat for Michael, who runs his own lawn care business. But he did get to try something new -- using a jackhammer to drill holes in concrete.

He had one word to describe the experience Saturday: "Vibratious."

Curt Hare said he was glad for the chance to spend time with his family doing community service.

"It's just about giving back to the community, and teaching my boys to think about others ahead of themselves," he said.