Lending a lawnmower

SkillsUSA holds annual lawnmower clean-up for community

Austin Uhlig, Staff Photographer

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Spring is in the air, and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. For many, that means pulling out the lawn mower and giving the neglected front yard a fresh cut. The mower is pulled out from the shed and the gas and is checked. After several hard pulls on the starter cable, your arm is exhausted and the emotions begin to rise. If only you had remembered to change the oil and clean the mower up as well.

SkillsUSA, a program at MN that promotes technical work skills and competes in competitions nationwide, has been hosting an annual lawn mower cleanup for decades to tune up the community’s lawn mowers and raise money for a good cause. The lawn mower cleanup was hosted on March 31.

“Anyone around the area can just come in and bring their lawn mowers. They pay $35, and we service it,” senior and SkillsUSA officer Ethan Trout said.

The chapter offered a variety of services to ensure an efficient and smoothly operating mower for the spring and summer, including an oil change, a blade sharpening and a power wash.

“We’ll change your oil and make sure [the oil is] nice and clean. We’ll sharpen your blades, power wash the bottom and make sure it’s ready for your summer mowing needs,” Trout said.

Every year, the chapter can qualify to go to the state and national competitions to compete against other SkillsUSA chapters across the nation. Getting there isn’t free, though.

“[The proceeds] help offset costs for students that go to Nationals, which is in Louisville, Kentucky this year. The lawn mower cleanup helps offset those costs,” SkillsUSA sponsor Greg Dunn said.

Dunn is a former student-turned-teacher of MN. He attended MN for high school and graduated in 2005. In school, he was involved in SkillsUSA and also helped host the cleanup back in the day.

“[The cleanup has been going on] ever since before I was a student here, so that was pre-2000 era,” Dunn said.

The annual cleanup has been helping in other ways besides offsetting costs for trips. SkillsUSA uses the event to raise awareness about the industrial technology program as a whole.

“It gets community members to come in; they can see the projects that we do. It gets more people down here to see what Industrial Tech is all about here at MN,” Dunn said.

Science teacher Joy Rooney has been taking her lawn mower to the SkillsUSA cleanup for several years.

“We’ve done this for probably five or six years,” Rooney said. “I think you can’t beat the price, plus the money is going to the kids, which is great.”

Dunn was pleased to report that SkillsUSA exceeded their goal of serviced mowers. The chapter is deeply appreciative of the support from MN and the community.

“We surpassed our goal of over 100 mowers serviced, and we’d like to thank the Millard North staff and local community for their support,” Dunn said.

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