Americorps volunteers preserve MLK Jr.'s legacy

POSTED: 03:55 PM PST Jan 21, 2013    UPDATED: 04:54 PM PST Jan 21, 2013 
COACHELLA, Calif. -

The second inauguration of the nation's first black president also falls on the same day we honor one of the greatest black leaders in history. The nation celebrates and remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s fight for equality and passion for service.  Twenty-eight volunteers cut branches, raked leaves and did yard work at different houses for elderly people in Coachella. "It's a great feeling, we're with Americorps, it's a volunteer program, and we're here to help the community as best as we can," said Elsie Silva.

Another bonus? Honoring the memory of the man we celebrate on this day.
"Well, it's Martin Luther King Day and some people think that it's a day off and you know just watch TV, but it's a day to something in your community and to help out," said Silva.  "That's what the great thing is about Martin Luther King day, is you're out doing something, you're out helping whoever needs help."

People like Annie Torres. She's no longer able to take care of her yard or pick oranges from her tree.  The volunteers took care of all of it. "These girls are doing a great job, they're from the Americorps, and they're all from different schools," said Torres.  "I'm very obliged to them, and they're wonderful."

While Mrs. Torres got her yard work done, the volunteers got a different kind of satisfaction from the day. "Well, a lot of it is personal gratification, to do what Martin Luther King said, to give back to their community," said Americorps project manager Adam Sanchez. "For them, it's having the ability to say you know what, we live in the city of Coachella, we want to help those in need, and here's a way we're going to get it done."

Mr. Sanchez also hopes this day of service sets an example for the rest of the community. "You know we all work together as a community it's one bit city, but at the same time, we need to watch out for each other, our neighbors, our friends," said Sanchez. "So that we can create a community that's directed towards service and helping each other out."