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Volunteers help clean up Rusch Park for National Day of Service

Kostantin Khoury of Narenj Mediterranean Grocery plants flowers at the base of a sign telling the history of the Rusch Home. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip—
Several dozen volunteers gathered outside the historic Rusch Home on Saturday to help clean up the property as part of the National Day of Service and Remembrance, a federally recognized day set on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks of 2001.

Volunteers spread mulch, raked leaves, pruned roses, and painted curbs and railings around the historic property. While many volunteers were local residents, Greg DeVille came from Shingle Springs with his son Mason as part of a school volunteer project.

“We want to make sure that our kids and the school kids learn the local history and help out a little bit, give back,” DeVille said. “That’s part of what the school’s about and what we as parents are about so it’s exciting to be able to come out here in the early morning and not too much heat and give back a few hours.”

Additional volunteers from Citrus Heights Area Seven Eight and Nine (CHASEN) joined the effort. CHASEN President Kathy Morris said about 10 members of the community organization showed up for the event.

“Since it’s a community park, we all get to help,” Morris said. “Not just CHASEN folks, but folks from all over the city. We use it, we should fix it.”

Park Supervisor for the Sunrise Recreation and Parks District, Jeff Rivard, called the turnout “great,” saying volunteers arrived at about 9 a.m. and planned to work until about 12 p.m.

Sept. 11 was officially designated as the National Day of Service and Remembrance under the 2009 Serve America Act.

The local event was hosted by JustServe in partnership with the Sunrise Recreation and Park District, along with support from the Citrus Heights Homeless Assistance Resource Team, Kiwanis Club, the local Chamber of Commerce and the Citrus Heights Area Seven Eight and Nine neighborhood association.

The Rusch Home was built by Fred and Julia Rusch in 1916, who constructed the home after the prior house on the property burned. According to the Citrus Heights Historical Society, the brother-and-sister pair ordered the Craftsman-style home from a Sears and Roebuck catalog and had it shipped in pieces by railroad.

The two lived in the home until it was bequeathed to the Sunrise Recreation and Park District. It now largely sits unused, except for occasional tours to the public and events.

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