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      Volunteers revamp ranch and more for Day of Caring

      A quiet and beautiful morning invited hundreds of volunteers out to the Open Space in Traverse City for the 2013 United Way Day of Caring. The day kicked off at 7:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast.

      "What a great way to start your day, you know to help others and to see the impact in your community," said Ranae McCauley, Executive Director of United Way of Northwest Michigan.

      Organizers said they estimated nearly 300 people for breakfast.

      Teams were made up of 2-50 people that made their way to dozens of project sites in Traverse City and surrounding communities.

      Soon after people grabbed shirts and fueled up for the day ahead volunteers funneled out to their respective project areas.

      From landscaping and cleaning to bridge repair and ramp building - organizers said there's something for everyone of any age, regardless of skill levels or abilities.

      Barb Lemcool, the woman who started the Day of Caring in Northwest Michigan 18 years ago, is helping with the Little Free Libraries that will be taken to elementary schools in the Traverse City Area Public School district.

      "All of the Little Libraries were built by Camp Pugsley and they built them and students are going to paint them and they're going to be adorable," said Lemcool.

      More than 100 volunteers alone made their way out to Reining Liberty Ranch in Traverse City.

      "We saw the value that's going on out here and we really kind of have adopted this location," said Doug DeYoung, Consumers Energy Public Affairs Area Manager.

      Reining Liberty Ranch has a community based program that serves as an escape for many local veterans and their families. The non-profit organization bought the farm last November.

      "We want veterans to be able to come here and just hang out if they want to, have a peaceful quiet place to be, to be around other veterans," said Jonathan Reed, Veteran Coordinator at the ranch.

      Organizers said Veterans can take part in a variety of programs such as horsemanship, therapeutic horseback riding, and also just spend some time on the farm.

      "We've gotten so much done since we've gotten it, but there's still a lot more to do," said Reed. "Having these events like the Day of Caring and having people come out, we just are able to really tackle some of these bigger projects."

      Thursday volunteers worked on building a fish pond where veterans can meditate.

      They also worked on building pasture shelters for horses, painting barns, and helping with odd jobs.

      Organizers for the Day of Caring said people can still volunteer year round even if they can't make it for the Day of Caring.

      For more information about the Day of Caring and to find out how you can get involved visit the Day of Caring website.