Page 6 - Scene Magazine May 2021 46-05
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  Did You Know?
     started cleaning up that triangle she noticed a Maple seedling and told her friends, “Let’s let it grow since this was Maple Street once.” Nellie thinks it’s about 12 years since they made that decision and she uses it as a marker of when she and her friends began volun- teering to clean up green areas in our community.
You’d think those projects would be enough to keep the volunteers busy for their once-a-week, March through No- vember work schedule...but no they are now taking on Irving know the one with all the ducks and geese across from Bronson Hospital.
Nellie was born in the Netherlands, moving to the United States and even- tually to Battle Creek with her family as a child and has lived here ever since. Her father wanted to be a farmer and believed the United States presented more opportunity to make that happen. Nellie finished high school at Harper Creek and did her nursing training at Calvin College and Blodgett School of Nursing. She worked with Dr. Gieser as an Ophthalmic Technician until she retired.
Pictured left to right, Don DeNooyer, Peggy Bohl, Marilyn Weirsma, and Pat Lind.
In case you think Nellie only volunteers in gardens then follow her
on Tuesdays and Thursdays when she becomes the main dry wall finisher for Habitat for Humanity. “It’s a joy for
me and brings me inner-peace,” Nellie said. “I love making my community a better place.” She’s a member of the board of Habitat and chairs the partners’ committee. She began volunteering with Habitat with her dad. “I wanted to do something with him,” Nellie told me. “He was 85 when he finally stopped volunteering. We liked the concept of it’s a hand up, not a hand out.”
 Nellie still wanted to keep busy
so became a Master Gardner and was asked to volunteer to keep green areas in the community neat and tidy. That was the beginning of her one-woman volunteer crusade. She first tackled the Northside Historic Sign median and then as she was traveling around the city something caught her eye. “I was so bothered going by [Leila Arboretum]
and seeing it go to pot after so much time and money to make it such a beau- tiful spot,” Nellie said. “So I started on my own to weed it. It was overwhelm- ing so I got some help.”
She’s accomplished all this while being married to Walt for 53 years and together they have a son, Pete, a daugh- ter, JoLynn, four grandchildren, and one great grandchild. Nellie has also taken eight medical mission trips; six to Korea and two to Kenya, working mainly with people who have leprosy. “No one else wants to be around them, so they are neglected.” Nellie shared with me, “My faith dictates what I do. I glorify God in all I do.”
Did you know there is a Maple tree growing in the triangle median near the Y-Cen- ter? When Nellie Briggs and her friends voluntarily
community look better,” Nellie told me. “It feeds my soul to be out there with my friends.”
Nellie Briggs
Once they got the weeds under con- trol Nellie said to her friends, “We’ve got some extra time, where do we go next?” She noticed that little triangle by the Y-Center was neglected after having some nice plantings. That’s when the Maple seedling was saved and nurtured by the volunteers. “I love making my
“We received a $500 grant from Battle Creek Community Foundation to help us return Irving Park to its former splendor,” Nellie told me. “Making it tidy is our main objective.”
 Nellie is looking forward to be on the Garden Tour this July 17 and 18. “I’ll probably buy more annuals than I normally do so the garden is “company” ready,” she tells me with a smile. Oh, I almost forgot... she’s busy on Fridays as well when she and a different group of friends dig in at the Battle Creek Chris- tian Early Learning Center on Wagner Drive. “Some days as we’re working we hear someone yell from their car, ‘Thanks so much for making things beautiful!’ We feel appreciated.”
T. R. Shaw Jr. Co-Founder / CEO / 269-209-5555 cell / Kathy Shaw Co-Founder / President / 269-209-9719 cell /

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