Manchester, KY: Manchester Memorial Hospital (MMH) regularly sponsors community events, and for the second year in a row we planned a mass sponsored event to help better the community. Seventy students, ranging from seventh grade to senior year, made the drive north to Clay County on September 24 to aid in several community service projects. The students attend Adventist schools in Tennessee, but took the weekend off to join the Hospital in its efforts.
Manchester Memorial Hospital arranged for the students to be housed in Greenbriar Presbyterian Church’s new community building. Each morning they were led in group worship before branching out into groups of fourteen, led by their instructors, to aid in the reconstruction and repairs in local homes.
“This is my first year in Appalachia but I really love coming out here because it really gives you a new perspective of how people live. Despite the fact that it’s only three and a half hours away, I didn’t know there was so much need,” commented one student. “It’s a great experience, and it’s eye-opening. You definitely get something out of it, morally and spiritually.”
These projects, coordinated by David Watson, Executive Director of Plant Services at the Hospital, included home improvement tasks such as painting, patching holes, roof repair, plumbing, window installation, and repairing underpinning. Volunteers were also called upon to build handicap ramps to facilitate disabled members of the community. The students worked diligently to repair five homes in the Manchester area in two days. The homes were chosen by Arlene Baker and Ruth Wiehn in Case Management, who determined their level of need.
The students and coordinators alike attribute their annual trip to Clay County to the sense of pride they feel in helping people in need. Not only does this program provide valuable experience for students to engage in community service projects, it also provides necessary repairs at no cost to the recipient. Such a project is essential to members of the community who would have no other way to make the necessary repairs.
“I look forward to working with the students every year. They have such a contagious passion for helping others,” said David Watson, Executive Director of Plant Services. “The work they do in our community allows many different families a safer and more comfortable atmosphere. I count it a blessing to be a small part of their ministry.”
*Published in The Manchester Enterprise*