Society

Living ‘Do Unto Others’ with work

Methodist ‘Army’ takes hearts, hands in Rockdale
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor


From left, Rev. Leslie Adams watches Bryan Gripp and Madison Fowler work on ramp at his home next to Calvary Baptist Church. 
Photos Rockdale Reporter/MIke Brown and courtesy of Emily Cobb/United Methodist Army From left, Rev. Leslie Adams watches Bryan Gripp and Madison Fowler work on ramp at his home next to Calvary Baptist Church. Photos Rockdale Reporter/MIke Brown and courtesy of Emily Cobb/United Methodist Army Sometimes explaining the work of the United Methodist Army every summer in Rockdale is simple, direct and to the point.

“We’re doing God’s work,” Taylor Tarpey explained, wiping perspiration from her brow and she paused from cutting lumber in triple-digit temperatures near Fair Park last week.

Indeed. Seventy youth and adults from three south suburban Houston congregations formed teams to spread throughout Milam County last week, providing construction projects for those who needed it most.

For the past decade UM Army teens have been coming to Rockdale, hosted by St. John’s United Methodist Church.

This year, Rockdale hosted young men and woman from churches in League City, Seabrook and Texas City.

COMMITMENT—“ They pay to come here and then they work,” Steve Shelton, camp director.


Taylor Tarpey (L) and Jacob Moore team up to haul ladder at rural UM Army construction site. Taylor Tarpey (L) and Jacob Moore team up to haul ladder at rural UM Army construction site. Those fees cover the cost of materials but the heart and soul of what happens with UM Army visits is spiritual as much as physical.

“We’ve got incoming freshman and some who have already graduated,” Shelton said. “They keep coming back because of what it means to them.”

The interaction with the students, and their dedication, means just as much to the local residents who are the recipients of the work.

‘GOOD KIDS’—The UM Army built a ramp for Rev. Leslie Adams next to Calvary Baptist Church south of town on US 487.

“They’re great workers and such good kids,” Rev. Adams said. “ You know they even brought me lunch and shared it with me. Now, they didn’t have to do that. This whole week has been such a blessing.”


Ready to measure and cut, Tessa Keller waits for Bonnie Harrison to place lumber on sawhorses. Ready to measure and cut, Tessa Keller waits for Bonnie Harrison to place lumber on sawhorses. Georgia Zamora agreed. The UM Army not only built a ramp for her, they took care of a number of smaller projects inside her home.

“ They are such good kids,” Zamora said. “At lunch time they’d come in and we’d eat together and have a devotional.”

“I told them, they’ve helped restore my faith in young people,” she added. “It’s done me so much good to know that there are still young men and women like this around. Seems like all you ever hear about is the other kind.”

LOGISTICS—Shelton said the UM Army built ramps, stairs, installed siding, repaired porches, sheet-rocked and did all kinds of maintenance.


Cutting it the right size, Noah Martinez (L) and Michael Rougely. Cutting it the right size, Noah Martinez (L) and Michael Rougely. “They don’t have to have any experience in construction work,” he grinned. “We’ll teach them.”

He expressed appreciation to St. John’s and the Rockdale Rotary Club for their support of the UM Army’s effort. There were also work sites in Cameron and near Thorndale.


Click here for digital edition
2013-07-18 digital edition



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


Click here to register for the 5 Kay!