Photography and Article By: Lauren Gandara
The Spring morning of April 2nd was blistery and snowing, not the ideal weather for being outdoors. Despite the conditions dozens of students from Carl Schurz High School, along with the members of Chicago Veterans came together to help clean up the Portage Park neighborhood.
Volunteers grabbed supplies and hit the streets. They cleaned up sidewalks, parkways, and even removed graffiti. We asked Marine veteran Juan Cornejo why he decided to volunteer; “I saw it as a positive thing to do for the community. Being an officer for my local VFW, I’m big into doing things for the greater good. Being a veteran, I felt like we were all being great public examples for our youth to emulate.”
Navy veteran Nicholas Canete is a Community Engagement Leader for Chicago Veterans. “I want the community members to know how honored we are to be neighbors and that we want to be active in the preservation of the neighborhood.” Canete would like Chicago Veterans to play an intricate part in community development by being part of more projects like this in the future.
The Chicago Veterans team as a whole agreed that helping with the clean-up efforts was the least they could do after receiving such a warm welcome to the Portage Park neighborhood.