Blue Jackets culture of giving back extends to fans in beautification project
AUG 19, 2014 10:52a ET
Many early Saturday mornings, Columbus residents are still waking up, but last Saturday had almost 200 Blue Jackets season ticket holders and a large group of Blue Jackets staff hard at work in the Franklinton neighborhood as part of a community beautification project in partnership with Keep Columbus Beautiful.
"This is one of the things as Blue Jackets that we do," said Larry Hoepfner, Executive Vice President of Business Operations. "We are good citizens of our community, this is where we live and one of the mandates we have is that we want to make Columbus a better place."
The Blue Jackets had organized days of service in previous years, but this was the first year they extended the invitation to season ticket holders. It was also the first year that the event moved outside of traditional work hours.
The turnout by both Jackets employees and season ticket holders impressed, but didn't surprise, Hoepfner.
"To take time out of a work day is community service," Hoepfner said. "This is truly volunteer work today. This is our legacy, this is what Mr. Mac (Blue Jackets Founder John H. McConnell) wanted us to do."
As part of the morning's activities, volunteers cleaned up around Avondale Elementary School, completed a landscaping project, painted road signs and performed litter abatement throughout the neighborhood.
"We mulched, planted mums, flowers, and cleaned up around Avondale elementary," said season ticket holder Melinda Kovatch of Grove City. "Our goal was to make it look pretty for the kids when they come back to school."
Kovatch, who grew up in the Franklinton community, enjoyed the opportunity to partner with her favorite Columbus sports team to give back to her childhood home.
"Days like today help build a good relationship with the community," Kovatch said. "People that may not be able to afford games still know that the Blue Jackets care about them. It's not about the money it's about the community as a whole and how (the organization) can help the city."
The opportunity to work hand in hand with season ticket holders was something the Blue Jackets wanted to do. Jen Bowden, Executive Director of the Blue Jackets Foundation, said that season ticket holders had been contacting the team for a while looking for ways to get involved.
"We wanted to form a community effort with season ticket holders," Bowden said. "We have a lot of families out here today - seeing this turnout only affirmed what we believed about the people who believe in the Blue Jackets."
Season ticket holders enjoyed working with Blue Jackets team members and fellow fans alike.
"We have a good group of people in the organization and a good group of fans," Kovatch said. "There are good people that follow this team that are willing to do what they can to keep their city awesome."
Full and partial season tickets for the Blue Jackets' 2014-15 season are currently available for purchase. For more information you can call (800) NHL-COLS or visit BlueJackets.com.