EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Over 100 volunteers could be seen all over the Lake Club Monday to make sure that the Annika Fore East Palestine golf outing went off without a hitch.
Many of them were not from the village that was impacted by the February 3 train derailment but they were there to help just the same.
“It means so much for all of the people, the celebrities, the people have come out to really support us. We were a slight dot on the map and for everyone to come out to support us has been outstanding. It’s wonderful,” said Becky Westover, a volunteer from East Palestine.
Westover was born and raised in East Palestine. Her work at the outing was a labor of love for the community she calls home.
“We’ve all went to college together and we came back. We’ve raised our kids there. So, it’s really important for us to give back and support each other,” Westover said.
Kitty Kadas and her two friends came from the Cleveland area to help out. They just wanted to lend a helping hand after seeing the news coverage over the past three months.
“That community radiated with closeness, and your heart just went out to them. When we heard this, we said we gotta go do something,” Kadas said.
Roxann Sebest, vice president of United Way of Youngstown and Mahoning Valley, said when she send out the call for volunteers the response from the Valley is great.
“People come out strong and as you can see, we have our 100 volunteers. Just volunteers for this amazing event to help out with East Palestine,” she said.
Bill Kirkwood came from Wooster. He said he sees a bit of his own community in East Palestine.
“Our community is very close-knit as is East Palestine, and I saw the need to come up and help. If it happened in Wooster, I expect the people here would come to Wooster,” Kirkwood said.
Kirkwood is also a big fan of the host, PGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam and her family.
“Fell in love with the family. They’re the nicest people I have ever met. They are, I hate to use the phrase, salt of the earth but they are. The kids are wonderful,” Kirkwood said.
Monday’s outing will go a long way to help the village recover.
“We don’t want the public to lose sight of what has happened in our town. We have long-term needs that haven’t been identified yet, and this is such a wonderful event,” Westover said.