Ed Cirillo, vice president of the Rotary Club of Sun City West, introduced Ralph Johnson, president of the Sun City Prides, at their last meeting.
Mr. Johnson shared that the PRIDES (Proud Residents Independently Donating Essential Services) were founded by Joan Barnette in 1982. She and her husband purchased a home in Sun City, and while Joan loved the development, she was not happy with the general up keep of the property. She started with seven volunteers and Del Webb donated a pick-up truck. Now more than 200 PRIDES volunteers work hard all year to keep the 210 miles of streets, parkways, and medians in Sun City West clean and neat. Volunteers also maintain 26 miles of watering system and 11 miles of drainage ditches in Sun City. The irrigation crew is a 24/7 function; a dedicated group of volunteers is always on call. Their more than 62,000 hours of work have a value of more than $400,000 annually.
The PRIDES depend on donations from citizens, clubs and businesses to provide funds for tools, bubbler and timer supplies, fertilizer and tree and shrub replacement. The county supplies safety vests, plastic trash bags, paint for trees, herbicides and other material and supplies.
The PRIDES have volunteer openings for keeping equipment in great working order (they use 26 golf carts plus other equipment), keeping the building organized and clean, painting over graffiti and guard rails, trim shrubs and trees, pruning trees and painting trees. The PRIDES also answer calls and emails from the public, phone members who don't have email, keep the records of vehicle drivers, arrange for everything that is done for fairs, craft shows and PRIDES functions, along with maintaining the web site and keeping volunteer records/awarding service pins.
The PRIDES newest project is removing more than 500 old, overgrown or dying plants and trees and installing more than 800 replacements.
Visit suncityprides.com or call 623-972 6558. Donations may be mailed to 14630 R.H. Johnson Blvd., Sun City West, AZ 85375.