JOPLIN, Mo. — Volunteerism is front and center here at KODE today as we celebrate our annual Founders Day of Caring.

“We have kids from, you know, anywhere from 10 to 17, and so this area out here gets used a lot and so it’s a huge blessing for us,” said Christina Lackey, Turnaround Ranch.

Now, their playground is safer and easier to use. Spreading new mulch is just one task on a long list that is tough for staff to get to at the Ozark Center Turnaround Ranch.

“With COVID, the volunteer group opportunities of course decreased. Thankfully, COVID decreasing is providing more opportunities, so we have a lot of different things out here that we wouldn’t have been able to do without volunteer groups,” said Lackey.

This year’s effort involved dozens of Nexstar volunteers with even more hours given, and that’s just a drop in the bucket.

“There are 199 TV stations spread out over 110-11-12 markets across the country, and there are 12,000 Nexstar employees. So, you know, when you start adding up all of the service hours that they’re going to do today, it’ll be, you know, astonishing,” said John Hoffmann, KODE/KSN General Manager.

Turnaround Ranch sidewalks are getting attention with a thorough power washing. Overgrown landscaping is also part of the project.

Hoffmann says the goal is to make a difference right here in the Four States.

“I grew up in this community. So, it’s an opportunity for me to help the community I’ve grown up in, that I do business in, that my children grew up in,” said Hoffman.

“I would say thank you very much for the time coming out here. I mean, it’s warm and humid out here today. And so being able to just dedicate some time out here like i said is a super huge blessing for everyone here,” said Lackey.