Wyo. Tribune-Eagle 9/11/14- Several dozen members of three local Rotary clubs spent Wednesday afternoon on a mission to better the community.

They christened their first-ever "Rotary Service Day" here on Wednesday by helping the Parks and Recreation Department with several projects around town.

The day began at the Kiwanis Community House in Lions Park. There, Mayor Rick Kaysen delivered a proclamation in recognition of the event and thanked Rotarians for their help.

"It may not seem like the most glorious and wonderful thing to do, but it's a need," he said. "And you're stepping up and getting it done."

From there, the Rotarians spread out across north and east Cheyenne to tackle various projects. All three of Cheyenne's Rotary clubs were represented, including the Sunrise, Noon and After Hours clubs.

Several members walked along a stretch of the Greater Cheyenne Greenway just south of Dell Range Boulevard. They were equipped with plastic bags and gloves to collect trash.

"Rotary's motto is: 'Service above self.' So this is a way of giving back to the community," said Dave Cook, a Noon club member. "It's a great opportunity for us to show that we care about the community. We live here, and we want to give back."

Cook was accompanied by fellow Noon club member Don Day, who agreed such projects are part of "the Rotary experience."

"One of my first jobs as a Rotarian was to head up a highway cleaning committee. So when they said, 'Come out and pick up trash,' well, I've got all that prior experience," Day joked.

"It's one of those things where it makes Cheyenne a better place. As much as people use the Greenway, it's always nice to clean things up a little bit."

Phil Noble with the Sunrise club was part of a team spreading woodchips on playgrounds at Sun Valley and Holliday parks.

He said that while Rotary International is often recognized for its projects overseas - chief among them efforts to eradicate polio - some local members felt the need to also help out in their own backyard.

"We're supporting, for example, an orphanage in Haiti," Noble said. "But I really think a lot of Rotarians would prefer that we focus a lot of our efforts on our local communities.

"The Sunrise club here has really adopted the Boys and Girls Club. We give them as much money and labor as we can to do, all kinds of things, because they need a lot of help with the new club building."

Elsewhere, still other Rotarians were helping to repaint a Greenway underpass at Windmill Road, slathering brown paint over graffiti that lined the tunnel's interior.

Teresa Moore is both a member of the Noon club and is the parks planner for Parks and Recreation. She said that with only so many city employees and resources available, any help volunteers can provide is valuable.

"This is something the (local Rotary) board of directors has been talking about," she added. "We're hoping to be doing more projects throughout the year so that it's a tradition we carry on for years to come."

While many of the Rotarians volunteering were longtime members, the service day also let newcomers cut their teeth on community service.

Toni Gagliardi is one of Cheyenne's newest Rotarians. She is a charter member of the After Hours club, which was founded on May 17.

She said she was thrilled at the chance to get out and make Cheyenne a little nicer for everyone.

"I think it's amazing," she said. "This is a wonderful community - I'm raising my daughter here - and I love it. I think there's nothing better than giving back."