Note: This story appeared on the front page of the Tulsa World on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022
Away from the house for physical therapy Friday morning, a Catoosa resident expected to come home later this month to confront the steps of her front porch in a new wheelchair.
“Even with somebody’s help it wasn’t going to be easy to get inside,” said Scott MacGregor, an infrastructure engineer for the Public Service Co. of Oklahoma. “She was basically going to lose access to her own home.”
That is, if not Tulsa’s 31st annual Day of Caring.
MacGregor led a team from PSO to build a wheelchair ramp, one of more than 300 projects tackled Friday by more than 3,000 volunteers from 82 companies and organizations across the metropolitan area.
“Helping people is just in my heart,” said MacGregor, who has volunteered for the Day of Caring for the past 23 years. “And it’s good team work. For years I’ve worked with the same team members. And now, as the years go by, all my buddies are retiring and I’m getting to bring in young blood.”
First organized by the Tulsa Area United Way in 1991, the Day of Caring became an annual tradition for the early fall. In recent years, however, the United Way added multiple Days of Caring at different times of the year, partly to avoid large gatherings of volunteers during the COVID-19 pandemic but also to give volunteers more options to fit busy schedules.
The fall event nonetheless remains the biggest Day of Caring of the year, said Alison Anthony, the local United Way president and CEO.
“It’s a way to get out and really see the needs that our communities have, and to help hands-on,” Anthony said.
“This morning, on the way here and listening to the radio and to the global news, there was a lot of war and a lot of political division. But you know, today in Tulsa, 3,000 people are coming together to do nothing but give of their time and their labor to show their friends and neighbors that they care. What could be better than that?”
Other volunteer projects included building a garden at Sequoyah Elementary School, remodeling the Salvation Army Mabee Red Shield Boys and Girls Club and painting men’s and family dorms at the Salvation Army’s Center of Hope.
PSO alone provided volunteers for eight projects across the area Friday.
“It’s about being a part of something that is bigger than ourselves, bigger than our company,” said Peggy Simmons, president and COO of PSO and chairwoman of this year’s Tulsa Area United Way campaign. “The Day of Caring is one day that spotlights what I think happens 365 days a year in our community.”