Being ‘their neighbor’s keeper’
Ryan, who lost part of his right leg to diabetes, had been taking a risk every time he left his home at 517 Ackerman.
“Lots of boards were rotten a nd e ven t ho se t hat weren’t had nails sticking up through them. I had to dodge those along with the holes,” he said.
Then the United Methodist Army came to town.
For more than a decade volunteers from the Houston area have joined local Methodist youth in conducting a week-long project, fixing up homes for needy persons in Milam County.
Youths built porches, ramps and decks, painted, provided lawn care and did some general maintenance.
This year about 17- 20 projects were completed in the Rockdale area, according to coordinator Frank Hejtma nek of Pa sadena First United Methodist Church.
HOSPITA LIT Y—Hejtmanek praised the hospitality of the St. John’s congregation and of Rockdale in general.
“ R it a Sims a nd Joa n n Pilkey and everyone at St. John’s was wonderful to us,” he said.
He also expressed appreciation to the many persons and entities who provided information on which homes needed assistance.
“The people at the MARC Center, senior citizens center and Standard’s Home Health were very helpful,” he said.
The Rockadle ISD provided showers for the young volunteers.
‘ BARRIERS’—There’s more at work in t he UM Army mission than simple labor and perspiration.
“In addition to developing ties between the kids and the clients they’re assisting it’s also good for these churches to work together.”
“ Itbreaksdownalotof barriers,” he said. “We get to share our beliefs w ith each other and with the clients.”
The mission isn’t lost on the clients.
“ They were just wonderful young people to be around,” Ryan told The Reporter. “They did all of this in about a day and a half.”
“The came to my house and restored two porches, one in the front and one in the back,” she said. “And they did it in temperatures well over 100 degrees.”
In addit ion to Rockda le, Hejtmanek said UM Army volunteers assisted clients in Milano and Gause.