Gainesville gets a helping hand

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GAINESVILLE, TEX. -- In August, the city of Gainesville won a national contest designed to help clean up one city in America (see story below). On Wednesday, crews from the Henkel Corporation arrived to get down and dirty.

Lorrie Grewing thought winning the Henkel helps contest would be great for Gainesville but she never imagined the city would actually win.

"I didn’t know it was going to be this many people and that they would be so happy, and I know if people have a chance to do good they’ll do it and that’s exactly what they did because they thought, ‘Oh I’m helping Gainesville when they did that click.’"

Grewing's letter was one of 900 applications Henkel received over the past over the three months. That pool was narrowed down to three finalists, and after an online poll, Gainesville won with 70 percent of the vote.

"I thought it was very exciting, and I understand a lot of Channel 12 viewers called in and I want to thank them for that," said Susan Kleven of the Frank Buck Zoo.

Kleven is the director of the Frank Buck Zoo, one of the spots crews from Henkel worked to clean up.

Kleven says more than twelve feet of water flooded animal exhibits and washed away zoo attractions, but months of hard work, and now this help from Henkel has made the recovery that much smoother.

"We've just been putting the pieces back together and many people will have a hard time believing that we had all that water down here because the clean up has been phenomenal."

Workers from Scottsdale, Arizona, brought $25,000 worth of equipment to help with the restoration. Everything from new TV's and cabinets for the damaged educational center to new landscaping at the zoo's amphitheater were paid for by the Henkel Corporation, who actually held a contest amongst their employees to decide the 30 workers who'd get to help in the cleanup.

"This community is in deserving hands and really needs some help to beautify, and there are other things that we can really give to them, especially with the devastation in June," said Henkel representative Natalie Violi.

Zoo officials say there is a little more work to be done before the winter, but everyone is invited out right now.

The animals are waiting...

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