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Fayetteville Stake youth group ‘angels’ clean up Morrow

Teenage volunteers from the Fayetteville Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints converged on 9 houses in Morrow to clean up yards.

Teenage volunteers from the Fayetteville Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints converged on 9 houses in Morrow to clean up yards.

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Two youth volunteers figure out how to climb on Gloreie Simmons’ roof to clean her gutters.

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Teenage volunteers work to clean off Morrow resident Gloreie Simmons’ roof. Simmons’ condition prevents her from being able to clean the roof herself.

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Teenagers from nine different congregations of the Church of Latter-Day Saints in the Fayetteville area gathered at houses around Morrow, like the one pictured here, to clean up yards.

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Teenage volunteers work together to clean up Gloreie Simmons’ back yard.

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Teenage volunteers mowed back yards and cleaned roofs for Morrow residents too old or sick to do their own yard work.

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Leader Doug Wilken directed teenage volunteers to mow the neighbors’ yard — a yard they weren’t scheduled to mow that day.

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Teenage volunteers head over to mow neighbor Augusta Tyson’s yard for free after she asked if they were a professional service and how much they would charge to mow her lawn.

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Homeowner Gloreie Simmons hugs each of her ‘angels’ and thanks them for cleaning up her yard.

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Augusta Tyson thanks volunteers for mowing her front yard, even though it wasn’t on their schedule.

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Teenage volunteers clean up Clayton State Park.

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A leader directs teenage volunteers to lay down pine straw in Clayton State Park.

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Teenage volunteers celebrate and unwind after cleaning up Clayton State Park.

MORROW — When about a dozen young people descended on Gloreie Simmons’ yard with rakes, lawn mowers and ladders Friday morning, she knew God had sent them.

“I love it,” she said, speaking over the sound of lawnmowers and young voices. “It’s amazing. It’s a God sent. I mean, look at them. They’re angels.”

Simmons’ angels were teenagers from youth groups in nine different congregations belonging to the Fayetteville Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints. The teens came from Fayetteville, Griffin, Newnan, Peachtree City, Sharpsburg, Summer Grove, Thomaston and Whitewater areas to attend a 2-day youth conference full of classes, projects and service activities.

Today, those service activities included cleaning up parkspace on the Clayton State University campus and tending to the lawns of 9 residents of Morrow who were either too old or too sickly to care for themselves. Several kids had participated in this particular service activity before, some of them as many as three times.

Simmons suffers from osteo-arthritis and vertigo — both of which make it hard for her to move about much at all, let alone cut her grass or climb up on the roof to clean out her gutters.

“I can’t physically help myself and you don’t find service for free like this every day,” she said. “I will cut the grass if I have to — if I get a slip of paper from the Code Enforcement in my mailbox.”

But Morrow Code Enforcement Officer Marti E. Tracy realized residents such as Simmons have a difficult time keeping their yards up to city code. That’s why she worked closely with the youth groups to recommend names of residents who could really use the help.

Simmons said when an officer knocked on her door a couple of weeks ago to ask her if she would be interested in letting the teenagers work on her yard, she could tell God was about to bring her something special.

“All your help comes from God,” she said. “But it doesn’t come in the form of God. It comes in the form of angels like these.”

The clean-up crew in Simmons yard cut her grass, cleaned up her pine straw and even swept off her roof and cleaned her gutters.

When neighbor Augusta Tyson asked whether the crew was hired help and what they’d charge to cut her grass that day, youth leader Doug Wilken sent a few teenagers over to mow her front lawn — even though it wasn’t on their list of 4 yards to fix up that day.

“Thank you God and bless you,” Tyson said. “It’s a blessing this morning.”