Society

Being ‘their neighbor’s keeper’

UM ‘Army’ practices golden rule at 20 sites
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor


From left, Rockdale residents Lillie Scales, Chris Martin, Chris Shepherd, Ron Sussman cut board for deck at home of Bert Rolan and Serah Thompson, 806 Highland. 
Reporter/Mike Brown From left, Rockdale residents Lillie Scales, Chris Martin, Chris Shepherd, Ron Sussman cut board for deck at home of Bert Rolan and Serah Thompson, 806 Highland. Reporter/Mike Brown Finally, Maurice Ryan can get dow n his wheelcha ir ramp without being afraid of falling through.

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.

Hejtmanek said 30 to 35 youth participated from Pasadena, Beaumont, Alvin, Bay City and Houston St. Mark’s.

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.


Amputee Maurice Ryan can now get down his wheelchair ramp at 517 Ackerman without fear of falling through rotten boards or damaging wheels on nails poking through the planking. Assisting him is Arlene Valdez, Home Health worker. Amputee Maurice Ryan can now get down his wheelchair ramp at 517 Ackerman without fear of falling through rotten boards or damaging wheels on nails poking through the planking. Assisting him is Arlene Valdez, Home Health worker. “This week actually develops a new communit y of faith,” Hejtmanek said.

“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.”


Alvina Nealy watched UM Army volunteers build two porches on her home at 709 Vernon. Alvina Nealy watched UM Army volunteers build two porches on her home at 709 Vernon. Alvina Nealy was another Rockdale resident with praise for the UM Army.

“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.


Click here for digital edition
2011-08-04 digital edition



The burn ban for Milam County has been lifted. Burning is always prohibited in the county's municipalities.


Special Sections


Special Sections
Archive