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August 23, 2014

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Valley residents speak out, build up as part of weekend agendas

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Calvin Gilchrist, left, and Chris Alcorn place landscape rock on the side of Gilchrist’s fiancee’s home on National Rebuilding Day Saturday, April 27, 2013.

2013 National Rebuilding Day

Laura Hoffmann, left, and Shawn Simon paint trim on a house as part of National Rebuilding Day Saturday, April 27, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Saturday was anything but a lazy day for many residents across the Las Vegas Valley.

People gathered on the steps of Boulder City’s St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church to protest a gun show. In Las Vegas, people performed a symbolic walk for child victims of domestic violence homicides and released balloons into the sky in their honor. In the neighborhoods, more than 1,000 volunteers helped repair 17 homes across the valley, making their day in the process.

All around, people young and old were active on a busy Saturday. In case you missed it, here are the highlight’s from a few of the day’s many activities:

On a quiet Saturday morning in Boulder City, a group of gun protestors stood on the steps of St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church clutching signs and reading names of children.

They held signs that read “Peace not Piece” and “Support Gun Control.” They read the Second Amendment and the names of children who were victims of gun violence. One protestor, Esther Sass, carried a sign with family photos of her brother-in-law’s brother from New York. An estranged former co-worker shot and killed him in August.

“It’s got to stop,” Barbara Polk said.

There were 21 in all, rallying against Boulder City’s first-ever gun show, scheduled for the same weekend as the family-oriented Spring Jamboree. The protestors know they can’t stop the gun show, but they hope the city hears their voices.

“We want it to be known this event is unacceptable for the future, so (the city) stops and thinks about how it impacts the people in Boulder City and know that there are people against it,” Polk said.

A sign on the door of the Boulder City Recreation Center, the site of the gun show, reads, “No Firearms Allowed On This Property.” Polk, who organized the protest, was mystified that the city would allow a gun show to be held in a public building and on the same day as the Jamboree.

“I had one question: How could they allow a gun show here when it’s not legal to bring guns into a city building?” Polk said. “They said because it was a ‘special event.’”

She spread the word, and the protestors came. They spoke to the City Council about safety concerns and were told there would be security. But few were convinced.

•••

In the midst of a volunteer housing renovation on Saturday, an elderly homeowner sat in her doorway grinning as her grandchildren, great grandchildren and a crew of volunteers worked.

She could not believe so many people cared enough to repair her deteriorating home.

The scene has become commonplace for Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada Executive Director Cynthia Baca on the 20th annual National Rebuilding Day. She sees it every year, but it doesn’t make it any less special.

“(She) was just sitting in the doorway in a chair smiling and beaming at everyone,” Baca said. “It gave her a lift.”

Moments like that are why volunteers come out each year for the event, Baca said. This year more than 1,000 volunteers helped restore and repair 17 homes across the Las Vegas Valley.

Rebuilding Together Southern Nevada targeted homeowners who, because of age, physical disability or other circumstances, haven’t been able to maintain their homes. Baca said the organization chooses projects that can be finished in one day.

Volunteers from Bank of America, NV Energy and other Southern Nevada companies spent the day replacing windows, trimming bushes, repairing gates and applying fresh coats of paint on each home.

Baca said many volunteers leave comparing scrapes and scratches, paint splatters and other badges of honor from a hard-worked day while the homeowners receive a new sense of pride in their home.

Seventeen homes and more than 1,000 lives were impacted all in a day’s work.

•••

Six balloons were released from the Safe Faith United parking lot on Saturday. Each one represented a child killed in a domestic violence attack in the past year.

The display closed the fourth annual Walk Against Domestic Violence Homicide held by Safe Faith United. Every year the walk focuses on a group of victims in domestic homicide such as pregnant mothers.

This year’s walk focused on children following the death of 10-year-old Jade Morris and others. Event organizer and Safe Faith United founder Rebeca Ferreira estimates that about 50 people participated in a symbolic walk around the parking lot due to the heat.

Ferreira hopes the event will shed light on the domestic violence homicides that take place in Nevada and will invoke change.

“Many people don’t want to hear about it,” Ferreira said. “We all together need to do something to prevent domestic violence homicides in Nevada because we are the number one leader in the nation.

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