Paying it forward

On the second anniversary of the sounding of the sirens for Souris River flood evacuation, “A Celebration of HOPE” will be held in Minot to recognize the value of volunteerism and the city’s progress in its recovery.

The event will be held Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. in Scandinavian Heritage Park. A balloon release at 12:57 p.m. will mark the time that the sirens sounded in Minot on June 22, 2011.

At 1 p.m., Minot will pass a Star of HOPE to residents of Howard Beach, N.Y., which was affected by Super Storm Sandy in October 2012.

City leaders from Minot, Joplin, Mo., and Howard Beach will be participating in the ceremony. Minot received a Star of HOPE from Joplin in May 2012 in a ceremony observing the first anniversary of a devastating tornado in that city.

In fulfilling its promise to “pay it forward” by passing the “community” Star of HOPE to residents of Howard Beach, the Minot community is committing to sending volunteers to hold community paints and post stars on 22 miles of the Sandy-impacted shoreline of New Jersey for the National Day of Service and Remembrance on Sept. 11.

Stars of HOPE is an art therapy project that gives children of disaster a voice in their community’s recovery. A number of these hand-painted wooden Stars of HOPE, carrying words of encouragement, have been painted and planted throughout Minot’s valley.

Patrick Samuels, Stars of HOPE project director and fire chief in Grooesbeck, Texas, is scheduled to attend Saturday’s event. Visiting from Joplin will be Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean, Sandy Lovett of Missouri Southern State University, Charlie Brown with Joplin’s Stars of HOPE, and star recipients Al Jusino, Shiela Immesote and Brooklyn Jusino.

Roger Gendron and Holly Gendron of New Hamilton Beach Civic Association and star recipients Janine Mendolia and Gianna Pizzariella will be attending. Hamilton Beach is one of the oldest sections of Howard Beach, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens.

Lisa Olson, a Minot City Council member, and Bob Lindee, city public information officer, will represent the City of Minot.

Also participating from Minot will be Connie Philipenko, Souris Valley Long Term Recovery director; Mark Frueh, HOPE Village; and star recipients Amy and Samantha Senger.

Throughout Saturday afternoon, the public will have opportunity to paint base coats on Stars of HOPE. The stars will be used in future Stars of HOPE projects and taken to New York and New Jersey, where residents will paint on words of encouragement.

Live music, courtesy of the “Rock the Leaves” team, will be provided by Ben Eder, Fernando Band, Chris Stroschein and Above the Tree Line.

About 19 members of two teams from AmeriCorps national Civilian Community Corps will be conducting games and face-painting for children. The teams have been involved in planning and promoting Saturday’s event.

“One focus of this is to encourage people to get out and help their community,” said AmeriCorps member Kelli Beavers.

Saturday’s event is sponsored by Stars of HOPE, AmeriCorps NCCC, Minot State University, Missouri Southern State University, RSVP+, Recovery Warehouse and Souris Valley Long Term Recovery.