Working together to beautify a bridge

LYDGATE — The Kamalani Play Bridge got a facelift Saturday morning as community members pitched in to put another coatof paint on the wooden structure in celebration of National Make A Difference Day.

“It’s kind of cool that there are people all over the nation pitching in today to help their communities,” said Kurt Indvik,spokesman for Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park, the organization that hosted the event.

National Make A Difference Day, celebrated on the fourth Saturday of every October, has been held annually since 1992 andpeople across America come together to paint playgrounds, remove weeds and help out to maintain projects in theircommunities.

“It’s a great chance to get everybody together in a volunteer effort and for everybody to have fun,” Indvik said.

Brandi Baligad was one of the more than 170 people that volunteered for the project. She and a few of her friends from KapaaHigh School’s Interact Club managed to squeeze in a few laughs as they painted the railings on the bridge.

“We’re here to help out and give something back to the community,” she said.

Evan Schrader, who was lending a hand with the Boys and Girls Club, said he and his painting companions didn’t quite knowwhat they’d signed up for when they joined the party Saturday morning, but they were ready anyway.

“We’re having fun,” Schrader said. “It’s a lot of painting.”

That sentiment was echoed by Larry Lindsay, who was overseeing the project and who has seen the bridge repainted fivetimes, usually every other year.

“This whole thing is made of wood and this whole thing needs to be painted,” he said. “I think we have a good chance offinishing this today, with the number of people we have.”

Earth Day in April was the last time the bridge was painted and around 40 volunteers showed up for that effort.

Community work days like the one on Saturday began in 2005 and have in the past included events such as tree planting,beach and heiau cleanups, and other community improvements.

“This year we focused just on the bridge, more of a concentrated effort,” Indvik said. “We wanted to kind of keep people in agroup and target it together.”

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