When the new Four Mile Creek Greenway in Matthews flooded recently, Matthews United Methodist Church's Boy Scout Troop 39 came to the rescue.
The Troop already cleans up Sam Newell Road and Squirrel Lake Park on a quarterly basis, and when the greenway came online, they volunteered to also keep it clean.
But they never expected the mess they saw after the big rain on Aug. 5.
Hit especially hard was the area around the old Public Works facility behind Matthews Elementary School where extensive landscaping was completed last spring.
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"The flood waters washed all the top soil away. There was dirt and mud on top of the bridges and some of the plants and trees had been washed out. We saw people trying to run or ride their bikes over the mud," said Scoutmaster Frank Williams.
Troop members spent a few hours picking up debris that had been washed onto the greenway. They collected five bags of trash and pulled sticks and limbs from under the bridges, putting them in piles for town employees to pick up.
Williams said they regrouped on a Saturday afternoon and came back out on Sunday with wheelbarrows and shovels to tackle the rest of the mess.
"We cleared mud and debris off the bridges and paths and tried to put it back around the trees, plants and sign posts. We replanted two trees and put several plants back in their holes," Williams said.
He said nine Scouts and two adult leaders worked hard for several hours in the heat and humidity to get the greenway back in shape.
When Matthews town manager Hazen Blodgett arrived on the scene early last week, he expected the worse, having seen pictures of the damage taken by Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor.
But Blodgett says he was pleasantly surprised.
"When we got out there, we could tell where the shovels had been, where limbs had been removed and where the bridges had been cleared. It was amazing. And it saved the taxpayers money because the town staff would have had to do that work," Blodgett said.
Taylor says he plans to invite troop members to an upcoming commissioners meeting so board members can thank them publicly.