Mormon Helping Hands volunteer at El Toro Memorial





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Published on May 2, 2012

277 Mormon Helping Hands volunteers, in bright yellow vests, worked at the El Toro Cemetery in Lake Forest, California to benefit the community. The Santa Margarita Stake members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were part of the 70,000 volunteers participating in California's Mormon Helping Hands 2012 day of Service.

Tim Deutsch, General Manager of the Orange County Cemetery District, talked with his staff to find a project that he thought would be the most beneficial. The cemetery decided the major project should be to repaint the green rod iron fence on the frontage road because it had the most visual impact for the community. General landscaping and cleaning children's markers were also completed.

Wendy Vassilaros sat in a planning meeting for Mormon Helping Hands several months ago, while discussing possible community service events. Past events included parks, schools and community centers but for Wendy she could only think of one place and that was El Toro Memorial. Wendy explains, " My three year old daughter Hailey is buried there. I visit several times a week and find it so peaceful and beautiful. When we were thinking of a place to serve, I immediately thought of "Hailey's Place," as I call it. I figured I wasn't the only one in our community to have a loved one resting there, so it would be an honor to volunteer."

Wendy was right on that account. A lady who had lost her husband of fifty years on September 26, 2011 personally thanked one Mormon Helping Hands volunteer at the cemetery. She expressed her gratitude for the service performed at a place that meant so much to her.

Jim Carter of the Santa Margarita Stake Presidency, said, "This project was different than any Mormon Helping Hands project we have ever completed. There was a reverence and feeling of importance being on these beautiful grounds."

Tim Deutsch of El Toro Memorial said, "The coordination between the cemetery district and the church was wonderful. We had a great turnout and I can't say enough positive things about the willing and industrious workers. We look forward to working with Mormon Helping Hands in the years to come."


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