INDIAN ROCKS BEACH — The group of IRB Action 2000 volunteers had barely gathered in the 17th Avenue public beach access parking lot around 9 a.m. Oct. 2 before splitting into teams and springing into action, pulling weeds, laying mulch, and picking up trash under the strengthening early morning sun as part of the nonprofit organization’s latest Service Saturday event.
According to IRB A2K president Diane Flagg, the community group hosts four Service Saturday beautification efforts a year at various sites around town, and she said the one across the street from Guppy’s “is a beast!” due to its size and popularity with visitors.
“Luckily, we have enough volunteers, plus help from the city, to help us handle it,” she said, noting A2K installed the white picket fence that fronts the lot several years ago.
Indeed, the site featured a varied group of volunteers, with Beach Neighborhood Newsletter founder Bob Griffin, Indian Rocks Beach Chairs founder Mike Fowler, former IRB A2K president Daryl Frahn, and Peggy Cordle, a nurse practitioner and founder of Urgent Care Housecalls, among others, all lending a helping hand.
“This is all volunteer work, and the city helps us out with crews and equipment,” IRB A2K executive board member Shawn Stover said, taking a break from hauling bags of mulch to talk and towel off. “Keep Pinellas Beautiful is also one of our partners, and GreenTown Kids (a local kid-centered environmental nonprofit) supports this one. So, it’s a real collaborative effort between a lot of people and organizations.”
Less than a half hour into the two-hour cleanup, significant progress had been made, thanks to an all-hands approach that embodies the IRB A2K organization’s, and the community’s, collaborative spirit.
“We’ve pulled a lot of weeds in our time!” Elaine Breier said as she and fellow A2K member Rebecca Sacra worked along the south side of the lot.
“We’re perpetual volunteers,” Sacra added. “We keep coming back for more!”
When asked why they do it, Breier replied, “our love of Indian Rocks Beach.”
“And you meet great people,” Sacra said, adding, “I think everyone should volunteer to help in their community.”