Pitman High basketball players help out at Turlock's Donnelly Park

naustin@modbee.comNovember 3, 2013 

— Pitman High basketball players shot for a one-day finish in their quest to give a fresh coat of sealant to the weathered wood of Donnelly Park’s large play structure, and it was the community that scored.

“It takes 55 gallons of all-natural sealer to do this. It usually takes us two days, but with all this help I think we can knock it out in a day,” said Ray Garcia, supervising the project Saturday for the Turlock Parks, Recreation & Facilities Department.

Pitman basketball coach Harvey Marable said the project helped his athletes fulfill their school-mandated community-service hours. “It’s an opportunity for our kids. They’re giving back,” he said. “We’re not strictly just basketball. We’re working to grow young men.”

Among those young men was sophomore Rashaad Khan, brushing sealant over a wood fence. “It’s not that bad, except I can’t feel my hands,” he said after an hour of working in the brisk morning air. Sunlight glinted off still-dewy grass as geese fed nearby.

Senior Jamison Vorse dabbed at wood around the playground sign with particular pride. “It looks newer,” he said.

“I like being able to do this at a park I played at since I was a kid,” Jamison said.

Children coming to play at the park were destined for disappointment. The community-designed and built structure, with its turrets and slides, tube swings and climbing apparatus, was closed for its annual fall coating.

Garcia said the play area would open as soon as the sealant dried, either Monday or Tuesday.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin can be reached at naustin@modbee.com or (209) 578-2339. Follow her on Twitter @NanAustin.

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