HERMITAGE, Tenn. (March 22, 2018) – Equipped with spray paint, brushes and rollers, 60 volunteers applied a fresh coat of color today to recondition Seven Points Campground on the shoreline of J. Percy Priest Lake.
As part of an early Earth Day event, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District park rangers teamed up with employees at VF Solutions in Nashville to paint parking lot striping, disability markers, water hookups, fencing, kerosene lantern poles, gates, tables, and to add traction strips on wood steps that pose a hazard in wet weather.
Park Ranger Amber Jones said the staff at J. Percy Priest Lake has limited resources, so the Corps relies heavily on volunteer groups like VF Solutions.
“They enthusiastically team up and spruce up the lake’s facilities for the recreation season,” Jones said. “We’ve been partnered with them four years now. If it weren’t for them our campgrounds and our day use areas wouldn’t be as well kept.”
VF Solutions is an apparel manufacturer and leader in developing and managing uniform programs for some of the largest brands in the world. The company provides services to a wide spectrum of industries including the government.
Pat Kopf, chief finance officer of VF Workwear in Nashville, Tenn., wielded a hammer and installed traction strips on steps throughout the 59 campsites. He said their partnership with the Corps of Engineers at J. Percy Priest Lake is great for employees because they get out of the office into a different setting where they can do something good for the community.
“VF Solutions is very proud of the service work that we do,” Kopf said. “We’re an outdoor company. So we have a lot of people who like the outdoors and this is perfect for us.”
Marla Heath, production planner, enjoys the outdoors and said she worked to paint fencing around the campground’s playground because of the team building, and because she wanted to do something to help others and give back. Volunteering with the Corps of Engineers also made sense to her because over the years the lake has been a family destination.
“It’s just a fun thing to do with the group. It kind of pulls us together and lets us do something fun,” Heath said.
Amy Gardner, merchandizing manager, joined Katy Green and Cassie McLure, merchandizers, to paint the campground’s lantern poles. The trio quickly developed a strategy of pulling the poles down to spray paint the tops first, and then the bottoms last. The poles are attached to weighted used tires, much like playground tether ball poles.
“When we saw them we thought it was going to be tricky because they are tall and we are not,” Gardner said. “Cassie actually devised a plan to stand on it and push it forward. It took all three of us to get it leaned over. Once we had it down we had a pretty efficient way to paint it.”
Different groups of employees painted different things different colors. Green said her assignment to paint the poles “green” seemed like karma.
“It’s a park. Parks are supposed to be green. I feel like it was meant to be,” Green said.
Seven Points Campground is located about 10 miles east of downtown Nashville, making it an ideal location as a vacation destination where campers can recreate and then visit popular venues in and around Music City.
James Paul, director of customization, said VF Solutions gets involved in a lot of charity work, but this volunteer opportunity is great because the campground provides a great experience for visitors to Corps of Engineers public lands and beautiful campsites on the shoreline.
“We come out and work and fill in and do some of the jobs that they can’t get to. This is one of the things I like to come out and do every year,” Paul said.
Wanda Sussman, executive assistant in Human Resources and community action plan coordinator, said the volunteer work with the Corps of Engineers benefits the public they serve, and the partnership is great for the employees who get to spend a day out of the office in the great outdoors.
“Every time we have an outing like this, people always come back and say that the teambuilding has been wonderful,” Sussman said.
Jones said it was a relief to have sunshine for the painting projects, especially with all the rainfall experienced recently at the lake.
“We accomplished a lot today,” Jones said. “This company is great to partner with because they are enthusiastic about coming out here. I feel like the campground just got a major facelift.”
Jones added that other potential volunteers and volunteer groups are encouraged to contact her or Park Ranger Carter Robinson at 615-889-1975 to inquire about future volunteer opportunities.
(The public can obtain news, updates and information from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Nashville District on the district’s website at www.lrn.usace.army.mil, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/nashvillecorps, and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/nashvillecorps. The public can also follow J. Percy Priest Lake on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jpercypriestlake.)