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Updated: 05/18/2017 08:30:04AM

Volunteers paint, clean, build and play

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Felix Piñeda, a 21-year employee of Lykes Brothers, edges the yellow safety lines against a red deck and steps at Redlands Christian Migrant Association in Lake Placid. He and a half-dozen other Lykes employees volunteered Wednesday to help the local child care provider freshen mulch and paint on the playground.


From left, Brigham Mason and Beth Maldonado, employees of Lykes Brothers, take turns Wednesday putting red paint on a deck at Redlands Christian Migrant Association in Lake Placid, while coworker Felix Piñeda looks on in the foreground. They volunteered for the annual United Way of Central Florida Day of Caring.


From left, Margarita Ojeda of Redlands Christian Migrant Association in Lake Placid talks with United Way of Central Florida President/CEO Alan Turner II and his son, Andrew. The United Way arranged for volunteers like Diane Cadle of Lykes Brothers, on right, to help 25 nonprofits on Wednesday's 2017 Day of Caring.


Vanessa Carr, on left, paints under the eaves at 229 Patton Ave. in Lake Placid, while Frank Nelson, job boss for the Habitat for Humanity home, instructs workers on the roof. Carr and 34 other Alan Jay Automotive Group volunteers worked on two Habitat homes Wednesday for the 2017 United Way Day of Caring.


Jenny McNabb of Alan Jay Automotive Group sings along with Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' while painting a closet Wednesday morning in a Habitat for Humanity home on Nichelle Boulevard in Lake Placid. She was one of 35 volunteers from Alan Jay at two Habitat homes during the 2017 Day of Caring.


Randall Kolpin, Lykes Brothers employee, paints a deck red on Wednesday at Redlands Christian Migrant Association in Lake Placid.


From left, Allison Huggins with Clifton Larson Allen LLC picks through her rake Wednesday while Dulce Buttrill of TD Bank clips and pulls weeds from the chain link fence at the Boys & Girls Club of Sebring.


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SEBRING — After other volunteers removed blue painter’s tape Wednesday from the playground steps at Redlands Christian Migrant Association in Lake Placid, Felix Piñeda finished up the edges of the yellow “safety lines.”

Margarita Ojeda, facility owner, said the United Way Day of Caring volunteer crew from Lykes Brothers helped spread 10 yards of pine mulch, paint an exposed part of the concrete deck, and repaint faded yellow lines that help guide the children and warn them of nearby ledges.

“If it wasn’t for volunteers, we wouldn’t have time to do this,” Ojeda said.

This year saw 350 local volunteers from more than 20 public and private employers help 25 local agencies in Highlands County, said Highlands County United Way Area Director Ansley Woods. Some volunteers helped dismantle exhibits or sort donations. Others did cleanup yard work. Still more worked on houses, stables or playgrounds.

When it was done, they all gathered for a well-earned lunch at the Buttonwood Bay community center.

Large organizations like the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, Publix Supermarkets, Alan Jay Automotive Group and Lykes Brothers split teams between sites. The Sheriff’s Office had teams at NuHope Thrift Store in Lake Placid and working with Central Contractors at Heartland Horses Equine Activities & Learning in Avon Park. Publix had teams at Manna Ministry in Avon Park and at NuHope Thrift Store and Hope Haven in Sebring.

BaRar Contracting LLC from Lake Placid helped dismantle some of the exhibits at the Children’s Museum of the Highlands and move them out of the area under the sagging portion of the roof. Kelly Prescott Dressel, executive director of the museum, said she hopes to re-establish the museum in a temporary location, once one is secured.

A team of 35 from Alan Jay Automotive Group split work between two Habitat for Humanity homes in Lake Placid, on Patton Avenue and Nichelle Boulevard. In the Nichelle home, workers like Pam Mohn and Katherine Denton painted the living room ceiling while Jenny McNabb painted a closet and sang along with an mp3 of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”

Over on Patton Avenue, volunteers like Mark Sturgille and Kodie Martin helped Habitat crew leader Buck Waters work on the metal roof, while others like Vanessa Carr painted under the eaves. Habitat for Humanity construction manager Frank Nelson said Alan Jay volunteers have worked on the Alan Jay-sponsored Patton Avenue house since construction began at the start of April. He said the deadline is June 15.

Lykes Brothers had men like Darin Simmons, John Gose and Davey Altman hacking away at underbrush in the ditch in front of the Highlands County Humane Society, along with Jon Spiegel, husband of Humane Society President Judy Spiegel.

While other volunteers helped sort through blankets, she explained that the Humane Society goes through blankets and towels frequently, providing bedding and winter warmth for the organization’s 83 cats and 72 dogs.

Meanwhile, Lykes Brothers’ volunteers put the finishing touches on the playground at RCMA in Lake Placid. Randall Kolpin and Diane Cadle, brother and sister, sparred verbally over who had worked hardest, given that Cadle expects a daughter in three months.

Human Resources Director Pat Storti said Charlie Lykes, company president, wants them to volunteer often in their community. Storti said they built fences at Heartland Horses three years ago, and they look forward to it next year.

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