Dozens of volunteers played an important role in the premiere of We Are Marshall on Saturday. About 50 people young and old were out at 9 a.m. sweeping sidewalks and picking up trash. Their goal was simple. To make their city shine just in time for Tuesday!
Despite the frigid forecast, scattered snow and sheets of ice, volunteers brandished their brooms and started sweeping.
Linda Turner is a member of the Huntington Foundation, and one of more than 50 volunteers: helping make the city shine.
“It's our city, and we're proud of it, just like we are of our homes,” said Turner. “So we want to keep it clean.”
Business owner Tim Carpenter organized the cleanup just days before the world premiere of We Are Marshall.
“We are going to be in the national spotlight, and as many people who are going to be here, we want our city to shine,” said Carpenter. “We want them to see the volunteerism, the community involvement and how proud we are of Marshall University and our city.”
Mayor David Felinton gave a helping hand, in hopes it will pay off come Tuesday.
“People who haven't been to downtown in years haven't seen Pullman Square, the development on 3rd Avenue across the street, 9th Street which is open again, and we've got a lot more businesses than we had,” said Felinton. “It's an exciting place to be, and it really wasn't like that five years ago. We were really on the edge of dying out."
Clint Maynard's motivation was the memory of his dear friend Nate Ruffin, who was a star of the young thundering herd. He’s now portrayed on the silver screen.
“This is exactly the kind of thing Nate would have people do to try to make Huntington look great,” said Maynard. “And I was out here thinking about Nate this morning just in honor of him. It's the least I can do.”
Many volunteers want to keep the cleanup effort going past the premiere.
Linda Turner suggested starting an "Adopt a Sidewalk" program, similar to "Adopt a Highway." That way, Huntington could shine all year round.