MASON CITY—The Village of Mason City received some extra care last month thanks to the help of local Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapters. On Saturday, October 17 several Ansley and Litchfield FFA members cleared branches out of yards, cleaned out gutters and culverts, hauled trees, and painted curbsides and handicap parking spots in Mason City.
KCNI/KBBN spoke to Ansley high schoolers Halie Racicky, Chancey Hoblyn-Bittner, Karter Moore, and Chase Racicky about their desire to give back to their hometowns.
“FFA to me really just means getting an opportunity to help out people in our area and also be more involved in my school and to be part of that agricultural organization,” Chancey Hoblyn-Bittner said.
Karter Moore added, “I just joined [FFA] because I’m involved in agriculture and get to learn a lot more, meet new people, help out the community, and give back.”
Halie Racicky said it is fun to meet new people and help the area with a variety of projects.
Planning and organizing of the October 17 clean-up day was done behind the scenes by village clerk Donna Hoblyn-Bittner and village board members including Sarah Zimmer and Kalla Sawyer.
Roll-offs were requested through Ravenna Sanitation and Sawyer told KCNI/KBBN the public ended up filling three dumpsters over the course of 24 hours during the cleanup. Donna Hoblyn-Bittner and Sarah Zimmer reached out to community members to see if anyone needed help with a special project. Large items had to be out on the curb and FFA students showed up with trailers and pickups to load items into the dumpster.
The volunteer clean-up crews worked for several hours on a Saturday and enjoyed lunch in the Mason City Community Building provided by Jones Insurance Group.
When asked why they wanted to spend their Saturday hauling branches, Karter Moor said he wanted to donate his time and talents as a way to say thank you for all the support he has been shown through the years.
Chancey Hoblyn-Bittner echoed this sentiment. “Our community supports us in everything that we do and they’re such a blessing to our extracurricular activities and so for us to be able to go out into our community and just help out people clean up the things that they need cleaned up it’s just a good day of work and everything and it makes us get to know our community members better as well,” she said.
Chase Racicky, Halie Racicky, Chancey Hoblyn-Bittner, and Karter Moore all thanked the village board members, Ansley FFA Instructor Blair Hartman, Litchfield FFA Instructor Brian Johnson for organizing the event, Jones Insurance Group for providing lunch, and volunteers like Kevin Racicky who provided a skid steer to help load and move items into the roll-offs.
Mason City Board member and Ansley Art Teacher Kalla Sawyer said she is proud of the students for being community-minded.
“I think it’s just a testament that they’re thanking us and as a village we really are the ones that should be thanking these kids for volunteering their time and their efforts to come help us, you know, because they don’t have to. They didn’t have to do this but we’re really proud that we are raising kids in our village and our communities to be community-minded individuals with a greater picture in mind rather than self-serving themselves. I’m just really proud of these children and watching them grow as individuals and take on these big tasks,” Sawyer said.
It is refreshing to see how much a few hours and fresh coat of paint can do!
“It just makes you feel good driving down Main Street and seeing a clean town!” Chase Racicky said.