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Hundreds of volunteers tackle service projects in Salt Lake City

Published: Sunday, May 19 2013 10:45 a.m. MDT

"We've done everything from repairing cars, to roofing, electrical work, plumbing, snow removal, cement driveway removal, new concrete and a lot of yard work," he said. "The point is that you can get a lot done — that many hands make light work. It's raining and we've still got close to 1,000 young adults who showed up. This will be ongoing for years."

Austin couldn't have been more pleased with the help she got in her yard, where the volunteers had removed a dog run and an area that had been covered with concrete. There were plans to add grass and a sprinkler system before the day's end.

"I am someone who doesn't like asking for anything," Austin said. "I can do, but I can't ask. But I felt this was something I should volunteer for. It would really help me. It really would."

She said she even tried taking her name off the list of those with projects to be done, telling herself that she was healthy and strong. She felt guilty, thinking of others who could also use the help.

She said when the volunteers came and asked her about the project and what she wanted done, she sobbed.

"'Whatever you can help me with is wonderful,'" she remembered saying. "I needed to feel like something was in control and felt my yard would help me feel in control again.

"This was kind of almost the last piece to get control of my life. … It's going to be my little oasis."

Nicole Wahlin of the Riverton 1st YSA Ward said she didn't know until Friday that she would be working in Austin's yard, hauling broken pieces of concrete and tackling yard work. But she was glad she had signed on to help when she did.

"(Austin) is really excited and seeing how excited she is makes us really excited," Wahlin said. "I think it's really amazing to be part of it and see everything come together."

Email: emorgan@deseretnews.com

Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam

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