Navy Recruitment Officials make memories serving Denver seniors

Zachary Kinder
Volunteers of America
Denver, CO 80205

April 3, 2017
Media Release

Denver — Overwhelmed was all Marianna Cicerchi could muster to describe how she felt after posing for a photo with a group of Navy recruitment officials behind several bags full of leaves, pine needles and old branches.

The description was fitting for what they had just done. Despite cold and rainy conditions, the group had volunteered to spend several hours working on various yard duties for Cicerchi and other senior citizens in the Denver metro.

"You don't know how much this means to me," Cicerchi said. "I'm overwhelmed by it. I couldn't do that."

The group was one of several attempting to clean 17 yards Friday morning through Volunteers of America's Yard Angels, a service within the Handyman Program. Adrian Rodarte, Petty Officer First Class, who helped organize the event, was looking for a community service project that could accommodate a group of nearly 70 and create lasting memories.

The Yard Angels program has been providing seniors with assistance since it was established in 2012. Volunteers have already contributed more than 500 hours this season, which runs through summer and fall, with more projects still to be completed. For vulnerable seniors, the program helps with general yard maintenance, such as raking, weeding, mowing and trimming trees and bushes.

"Working with any organization that gives back is amazing, but the opportunity to interact with a grateful community of senior citizens was the best part," Rodarte said. "The homeowners were some of the most humble and grateful people we have encountered. A lot were public servants of the community and military, so it was nice to give back to them what they've given to us."

It's not always easy to find the words to express gratitude for a service, especially for seniors involved with Yard Angels. Having the burden of yard work lifted off their shoulders has been an immense blessing, even moving some to tears.

"As an 89-year old with hearing and eye problems, I cannot express in words my appreciation," Lucy Walker said after a group from Five Points Rotary Club helped clean her yard in early March.

Rodarte said his biggest takeaway from the project was the impact of serving in the community. Even serving in what seems like small ways can make a big difference.

"Something as simple as cleaning a few yards for people can really make a difference in people's lives," Rodarte said. "If everyone devoted a little time to help those in need, the world would be a better place."

Yard Angels presents an opportunity for individuals, groups and organizations to serve and work together as a team in unique ways within the community. Interested parties should contact VOA at 303-297-0408 and ask for Molly Barfuss or go to VOA's Volunteer Opportunities.

Volunteers of America is a national, nonprofit, faith-based organization dedicated to helping those in need live healthy, safe and productive lives. Since 1896, our ministry of service has supported and empowered America's most vulnerable groups, including the frail elderly, people with disabilities, at-risk youth, homeless individuals, women in need, and veterans and their families. For more information about Volunteers of America, visit