TC and Taft High grads paint NEEDS Center, cleanup Lakeview Gusher and help local senior citizens, too

A lot of recent Taft Union High School and Taft College graduates have been making Taft a better place and helping their neighbors.

They've been busy around town, helping senior citizens with jobs in homes and yards and working on some public buildings, too.

They are all recipients of Holmes Family Scholarships and they're giving back by performing community service.

The young people are all graduates of TC and TUHS who received the Holmes Family scholarships.

They had something else in common, too:

T shirts with the motto “Amazing people don't JUST happen.”

It happens with a scholarship with the provision that you pay it forward.

The provision came from Holmes family patriarch Fred Holmes, a leader in the local oil industry.

“Fred's got a big heart. He just wants to make a difference in Taft” said Taft Union High School teacher John Kopp, who was coordinating the student's work.

Tuesday the students were painting the exterior of the NEEDS Center on Main Street and cleaning up trash and vandalism at the Lakeview Gusher State Historical Gusher Landmark on petroleum Club Road.

Bill Wickwire is the director of the NEEDS Center, a nonprofit that is operated by volunteers.

He was glad to have the help.

“He (Kopp) asked 'Is there anything we can do?' and I said yes. We don't have the people to get down here and do this, and it was a great opportunity.”

On Monday, the students went to the homes of some elderly residents in Taft to help with cleanup and chores that might not get done otherwise.

Kopp said there of 42 students taking part in the program this year and and that will grow as more Holmes Family Scholarships are awarded and those students return to join the others and do their part in the community.