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Volunteers get patriotic: finish flag mural on 9/11

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The Vacca Volunteer Corps. finished a repainting job on an American Flag mural in Morris Park on September 11, making the group’s latest effort a symbolic gesture.

The project, which was undertaken enthusiastically by 40 volunteers on Saturday, August 28, was completed on Saturday, September 11. The red and white stripes that run the length of the Parkchester Rifle & Revolver Club at 1010 Sackett Avenue were freshly repainted to cap off the effort.

Councilman Jimmy Vacca visited the site as his staff members prepped the area for the final leg of the painting job. The mural, painted in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, had been marred by graffiti for several years before the eager volunteers took to the building with paint supplies donated by Al Jampol Paint & Hardware at 678 Morris Park Avenue, and a graffiti removal service courtesy of Senator Jeff Klein’s office.

“It is symbolic that we are back here on September 11th finishing work on the flag mural,” Vacca said. “We thought that we would have been done the first day, but it is a big project. We wanted to get the job done right.”

In addition to hundreds of dollars of paint supplies donated by Al Jampol, additional supplies, including a ladder, were provided by the Neighborhood Development Initiatives Corporation. Volunteers had already completed painting work on the building’s front facade and half of its sidewall on August 28.

Vacca said that many of the volunteers learned a lot about painting. He said some came to appreciate how challenging physical labor can be.

“It was a learning process for us too,” he said.

For Vacca’s enthusiastic young volunteers, like Herbert Norat, the cleanup could make a statement to vandals that continually tag the building: that the community will always rise up against those who want to deface public and private buildings.

It was also a time to celebrate the diversity that makes the community strong.

“We had young people and seniors, and a youth group that brought six volunteers,” Norat said. “The graffiti cleanup had a wonderful turnout and it was good to see the community come together and take a strong stance against graffiti, showing that we will not stand for it.”

Morris Park resident Donna Dechiaro said that the building was in dire need of a face lift. She was pleased by the efforts of the volunteers.

“I think it is great that Councilman Vacca is taking on the project,” Dechiaro said. “Younger and older people need to care for the community more, and graffiti just drags it down.”

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