Seton Hill students participate in 24th annual Labor of Love service day | TribLIVE.com
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Jamie Martines
Randy John of Greensburg, a 25-year volunteer at Overly’s Country Christmas, helps Rocco Kempa, a Seton Hill University sophomore from Jefferson Hills, install shelves Saturday at Overly’s Country Christmas in Greensburg during the Seton Hill Labor of Love volunteer day. Sept. 8, 2018

Emily Grove was all smiles as she came in from the chilly rain, led by a black dog eager to dry off and warm up.

The pair had just returned from a walk — Grove’s third of the day — as she volunteered at the Animal Friends of Westmoreland shelter in Youngwood on Saturday.

Grove is one of 221 Seton Hill University students, staff and alumni who participated in the school’s 24th annual Labor of Love, Saturday of Service volunteer event.

The students fanned out across 18 locations in Westmoreland County, including Animal Friends of Westmoreland in Youngwood, Central Westmoreland Habitat for Humanity Warehouse in Greensburg, Faith Forward in Latrobe, Overly’s Country Christmas in Mt. Pleasant and Westmoreland Cleanways and Recycling Center in Latrobe.

Alumni in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., also organized volunteer activities in honor of Seton Hill’s Centennial year.

“I almost feel like it brings us together,” said Grove, a sophomore from Warren who is volunteering during the event for a second year. “It’s just a good thing to do, and it’s fun.”

The goal of Labor of Love is twofold, said Marissa Haynes, coordinator of service outreach at Seton Hill. Held early in the school year, the event helps students get to know and serve the community, she said.

Community service is important because it helps make the world go around, said sophomore Josey Jackson, of Canonsburg, who also volunteered at Animal Friends of Westmoreland cleaning cages and walking the dogs.

“Especially when you’re away from home at college, to show that community effort can be anywhere,” Jackson said.

Students volunteering at Overly’s Country Christmas spent the morning listening to Christmas carols, cleaning and installing rows of shelving units that will soon hold sparkling holiday decorations. They maneuvered around boxes of garland and synthetic Christmas trees stacked in the middle of the room as they re-positioned the displays.

“It’s not the prettiest job in the world, but it’s one that needs to be done,” said Overley’s Executive Director, Stephanie Tomasic.

Rocco Kempa, a Seton Hill sophomore from Jefferson Hills, grew up visiting Overley’s during the holidays. He said it’s exciting to be part of the behind-the-scenes crew this year.

He chose to volunteer “just to help out and give back to the community that’s given so much to me,” he said.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

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