‘Pioneers’ paint US map for McCleary


Pam Dudding-Burch
Contributing writer

Submitted photo
The New Vision Pioneers painted a beautiful United States map on the playground concrete at McCleary Elementary.

When students at McCleary Elementary now run to their playground, they have a new site to behold. The New Vision Pioneers painted the United States onto their concrete playground entrance.

“Geri VanDyke asked us if we could somehow paint a map outside,” Pioneer member Linda Dudley said. “Our volunteers got together and were able to produce a colorful rendition of the United States of America.”

“The playground US map was the idea by a Pioneer a long time ago to help with education,” Dudley informed. In Virginia, they have New Vision Pioneers that head up the entire map projects.

The size of the map painted was very large, 35 feet by 20 feet. “This is a beautiful addition to our playground,” many teachers agreed. “Our students can learn by walking on the states, and we will have lessons out here which will be fun as well.”

The ‘Pioneers’ was a group that started in 1911 with just 734 members (including Alexander Graham Bell). By 1958, community service was established as the Pioneers’ “New Tradition.”

Their website today shares that the organization is “the world’s largest group of industry-specific employees and retirees dedicated to community service and volunteer more than 15 million hours annually within their communities.”

Their mission portrays the heartbeat of their people that is to be a network of volunteers who effect immediate, tangible change in local communities, in partnership with their sponsors (some being local, many corporate).

Their vision expands on their mission; “We are the recognized world-class leader in volunteerism. We are respected and valued by our members, our corporations, the global community and our industry. We are committed to the diversity and personal growth of our members, the success of our companies and to improving the quality of life in our communities.”

“Our chapter is the Old Dominion Chapter 43, and we are one of 19 chapters in the northeastern area of the U.S.,” Dudley said. “We are a national organization based in Denver, Colorado and have chapters in every state and Canada.”

“Our Pioneering Values include being inclusive and relevant, trustworthy and compassionate and transparent and accountable,” Dudley shared while relaying the website information www.newvisionpioneers.org.

Most of the pioneers working on the McCleary Map were retired from Verizon; however, there were some employees of Verizon that also participated. The people who worked on the McCleary map were; Richard and Sandy Short, Sid and Becky Crosswhite, Linda Dudley, Toni Culp, Sherri Hammerstrom, Cheryl Shanks, Inez and Ray Harmon and Lois Tarter.

Dudley shared that she spoke for all of the New Vision Pioneers in saying, “It was an honor to paint the map for McCleary Elementary School.”