Hardware volunteers help Midland

       Close to 50 Home Depot employees worked on their day off Tuesday, Sept. 28, and Midland Elementary was the beneficiary.
       To the delight of Principal Barbara Bishop - who told the orange-shirted volunteers “We can't thank you enough” - the workers painted the portable buildings, the trim and doors on the main building and a United States map on the playground. They also laid flagstones and planted flowers in front of the school.
       The labors went on from about 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with students and staff helping out at various times. “The kids helped with all these things; it was real cute,” Bishop said afterward.
       District 11 Superinten-dent Dr. Norm Ridder and Board of Education member Karen Teja added their appreciation to Bishop's as part of a ceremonial “board-cutting” (instead of ribbon-cutting) for the project at about 2 p.m.
       Home Depot, which provided the labor and materials at no charge, is performing such volunteer upgrades nationwide in honor of the hardware chain's 25th anniversary, according to information from the store.
       “It was just a gift,” Bishop said. “The front of the school was looking run down.”
       Even better, Home Depot left behind plenty of paint, potting soil and pavers to allow school volunteers to do more fix-ups. There is also a template and paint for a color world map to go with the U.S. map the store volunteers were able to complete.
       Lara Buhl, the school's International Baccalaureate (IB) coordinator, said the playground maps make good educational tools for elementary students, with students not only being able to identify a state, for example, but to walk over and stand on it.
       The plans for the flagstones and flowers had been worked out in advance between the school and Home Depot representatives, according to Bishop. She estimated the total value of the work at about $4,000. “There's a huge differernce now when you look at the front of the building,” she said.

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