Volunteers weren't afraid to play in the mud at the Flight 93 Memorial Friday morning as they worked to plant more than 15,000 trees. A majority of the ones we spoke to were newcomers to the event.
"This is our first year doing it. I've been here twice before and I just thought it was a wonderful thing," said volunteer Robin Beck.
"This is actually our first year. We're very excited about it," S&T Bank volunteer Kelly Corrinne-Thomas told WTAJ.
Around 200 people came to the first day of planting as individuals or part of a group. Beck decided to come with her husband, "It's a wonderful way to just pay tribute to the great heroes who lost their lives here for us."
She said she is also part of a retired volunteer program, which helps folks over 55 find ways to volunteer. She told us this event was easy for anyone, "There are people here of all ages, a lot of college students, a lot of seniors, and we just had a good time."
"It was a good time to just get out, enjoy being outside, do some work, and play in the mud," said John Berger, a volunteer from PSU Altoona.
The goal is to plant 150,000 trees around the memorial within the next few years. So far they are about halfway towards their goal.
"It gives you the opportunity to be a part of something bigger," Berger said. "In 30 years I can come back here, show my kids, and say I planted that tree, so that's a really cool thing to be able to look forward to."
Park officials said local volunteers come as well as people from as far away as Ohio and Maryland. It was an opportunity to give back and say thank you.
"To plant new life here and watch that creation grow is incredibly rewarding and profound," said Anna Weltz, a volunteer from the Laurel Highlands Visitor Bureau.
Volunteers will gather Saturday morning to plant more trees.