By Chris Slone
SCIOTOVILLE — The East Tartans took an opportunity to spend time together and clean-up the streets of Sciotoville. On Saturday, members of the football team participated in a community-service project organized by Tartan head coach James Gifford and the Sciotoville Preservation Society.
“I wanted to do a community-service project,” Gifford said. “Last year we went to Bannon Park (in Portsmouth) and participated in the outreach program. They played with the kids and helped clean-up the park. So, I wanted to do something in Sciotoville. The great thing about Facebook and social media, I found a Sciotoville Preservation Society where they are committed to doing some projects, cleaning up the area.”
Gifford contacted Susan Reed and Karen Johnson-Leedom, who helped the Tartan head coach organize the clean-up day — the first of many community-service projects.
“We teamed up with them and this is the first of many projects that we are going to do,” Gifford said. “It’s going to be anything from cleaning up trash to mowing lawns to planting flower beds, it doesn’t matter what it is.”
Tartan players walked along Gallia Street and Harding Avenue, cleaning up the trash on the side of the road. Sister’s Dairy Bar provided refreshments to the team.
“They were supportive as we were walking down there, they stopped and provided all of our guys drinks,” Gifford said. “They gave all of our players free fountain drinks.”
Gifford wants his team to take pride in the community — a community he is proud to call home.
“I think it’s evident people are starting to see our football is working hard and coming together as a team,” Gifford said. “This is where we’re from. Me being an outsider, this is my fifth year here, I know how much pride there is here in the community. Some people have different opinions about Sciotoville and we are wanting to make Sciotoville beautiful, and make people proud to live here.”
As far as his team goes, Gifford wants to keep them grounded.
“We have been getting a lot of support from a lot of people within the community and I want them to know what it’s like to give back, and not always expect anything in return,” Gifford said. “Life in general works that way. You give, you get back. And also, anytime we do anything like this, it brings us together more has a team. I’ve never seen our kids become closer. They are starting to hang out together in big groups, instead of small groups. We are just becoming a tight-knit family and that’s what’s going to produce good results on the playing field.”
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone.