For the second year in a row, one local nonprofit took over two Waxahachie parks on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but it wasn’t for fun and games.

The United Way of West Ellis County, a Midlothian-based fund-raising organization, brought together about a dozen people including staff, board directors, volunteers and residents, to give facelifts to Lee Penn and Oaklawn parks, Monday.

“Eleven volunteers came out to help clean up parks,” United Way Executive Director Kacey Cheshier said. “Our hope is that MLK Day of Service is observed as a ‘day on,’ not a ‘day of.’ The United Way staff and board members hoped to demonstrate the importance of serving in Ellis County by rolling up our sleeves and cleaning up a few parks.”

Cheshier explained that the goal is to mirror what King Jr. stood for – service above self.

“What better way is there to honor Dr. King’s legacy and vision of a ‘Beloved Community’ than to serve others, love on our neighbors and embrace the dream he described?,” the executive director explained. “On MLK Day, and any day, we can heed to live united, to help people everywhere attain the fundamental building blocks of a good life: a quality education, a well-paying job and good health.”

The cleanup crew, which included Waxahachie Councilman Kevin Strength, met at 8 a.m. UWWEC kept busy by joining the city parade in the afternoon.

“It is good to see everybody unite on MLK Day, but that unity must also be seen every day,” said Danny Smith, a Waxahachie resident who lives on the town’s eastside.

Martin Luther King Day of Service, started by the late Senator Harris Wofford and Congressman John Lewis, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The legislation encourages citizens to honor King Jr. with volunteerism.