Annual Day of Service in Newburgh – painting a police station, building bat houses

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Youngsters made bat houses as their contribution
to the day of service

NEWBURGH – The holiday marking Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday
may be just a day off for some, but for many, it is more. It’s an
opportunity to uphold one of the civil rights leader’s dreams of
doing good for humanity.

That brought about 75 adults and several kids out on a frigid Monday morning
for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh’s annual Day of Service.

At age 75, James Perine and his wife were wielding paint brushes. Both
are retired New York City teachers now living in the hamlet of Wallkill.

“But I’ve done this my whole life, you know, so I actually
enjoy it, believe it or not,” Perine said. “But, it’s
very fulfilling, it’s very satisfying to see the transformation.”

Another longtime volunteer is Celeste Bloomer.

“The mission is wonderful and the volunteers are terrific,”
Bloomer said. “Everybody works to help everyone else and it comes
together.”

The Perines and Bloomer were painting the interior of the Newburgh Police
Station, a bit of a departure from focusing on residential units, although
other teams were fulfilling that mission.

Habitat Executive Director Cathy Collins said there was good reason for
helping the local police this year.

“Hopefully the police officers feel better,” Collins said.
“We do that as part of our neighborhood revitalization effort and
the police actually have been partnering on this project with us, as well.”

Back at the cavernous Habitat headquarters on Washington Street, two groups
were hard at work. One group, adults, painted bright white doors that
will end up in rehabilitated Newburgh homes. The other group, young kids
including a couple of preschoolers, helped assemble bat houses for the
Stony Kill Foundation.