Volunteers clean up areas of Vicksburg National Military Park

Published 7:42 pm Saturday, September 15, 2018

At Pemberton’s Headquarters on Crawford Street Saturday, volunteers from the community were pulling weeds, removing vines and cleaning off the front porch and sidewalk.

At the South Loop in the Vicksburg National Military Park, another set of volunteers were pulling weeds from the cracks in the street, trimming along curbs and working to stabilize an area of the Kentucky monument honoring Kentucky natives President Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy.

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Members of the community, including two Cub Scout packs, turned out for a volunteer workday to help park officials with maintenance projects.

“We had 55 people turn out,” said Scott Babinowich, the park’s director of interpretation. “We sent 20 people to Pemberton’s Headquarters and the rest to the South Loop.”

Besides edging the curbs, Babinowich said the volunteers working in the South Loop area were trimming overhanging tree limbs.

“I think this is amazing,” said Rose Rains, the park’s volunteer coordinator as she watched workers at Pemberton’s Headquarters. “It’s great to see the people come out and be part of the park family.”

Work at Pemberton’s Headquarters centered around clearing overgrown grass and weeds. A large pile of trash bags lying by the curb on Crawford Street was evidence of the effort.

“There were a lot of vines growing on the house,” Rains said.

She pointed to a nearby window. “The vines were up to the window sill. We’ve gotten most of them from the house; we’re trying to be proactive and stop them before they take over the house.”

She looked around the yard. “We have really made a difference.”

Two young volunteers working at the headquarters, Matthias Nance and Pheonix Taylor, members of Cub Pack 110, were taking a break from their labors as they stood on a stoop just below the house’s porch.

“This was really fun,” Pheonix said.

Matthias said the pair spent time sweeping leaves and pulling weeds.

“This was so cool to be working at a general’s headquarters and one who was in a war,” he added.

“It’s good to see the community come and get involved and take ownership of the park,” Babinowich said. “They can look at the work they’ve done and feel good that they’ve made the park look better, and made it better for the people who visit.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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