Volunteers are Highland Heroes

Volunteers are Highland Heroes

Even though COVID would dramatically change our staffing, there was no shortage of work to be done and many projects already in queue. For many, volunteering at Highland was a welcome outlet during a time when outings felt risky, but to Highland they were our heroes.

Mowing and Trail Volunteers

COVID did not stop members of our mowing team, who drove separately to Highland and distanced themselves while serving. Our lawns were kept beautifully during what would be one of our longest sustained growing seasons. Highland’s trails also received special attention this spring and summer, thanks to Robert Reedy, who has been introducing people to Highland by hosting hikes and inviting his friends to pitch in with trail maintenance tasks such as blazing and tree removal.

Longer-term Volunteer Couples

Dan and Rosella Hernley returned for their second summer with us, spending nearly 2 months running craft activities for our family programming and working in the new snack shop and grill. In the beginning of August, they “passed the torch” of their role in the snack shop to Rita and Lowell Peachey who have also jumped right in to important grounds and maintenance projects.

Bridge Volunteers

Thanks to the efforts of volunteers and professionals, we have moved forward with our bridge projects. Since June, the new suspension bridge near Willowbrook bathhouse has been fully functional and 95% complete. (The remaining 5% is the stairs on the Willowbrook side, which will eventually be replaced with a more accessible slope of earth.) 

Volunteers Dana Sommers and Jim Musser dedicated days of labor to building bridges: preparing cabling hardware for the suspension bridge and forms for the new arch bridge. They were joined by professionals who offered some huge services free of charge! Engineer Johann Zimmerman, who designed the suspension bridge, brought his staff team and spent two days creating the suspended walkway between the support towers. Algers Excavating volunteered to completely remove the existing low water bridge. We now await the moment when contractor availability meets a very low water level in the stream to begin construction on the new arch bridge.

Retreat Center Volunteers

What started as an effort to replace deck boards, sidewalk, and stairs ended up with a functional and beautiful addition to Mountain View Retreat Center’s outdoor space. The plans were the brainchild of Bernard Martin, one of the original builders of the Retreat Center, and he joined other volunteers from the Retreat Center Association to help contractors bring the plans to life. Now guests can walk directly from the parking area, up a spacious stairway, and to the second floor rooms. Below the stairs and expanded deck is a large covered space that offers protection from both sun and rain. Special thanks to the Association for continually renewing the building for the many guests who come to Highland.

Volunteers made Highland into the special place it is today. We can’t imagine what a year like this would have been like without the smiling faces and willing hands of our volunteers!