Mission Serve returns
by The Press and Standard | July 18, 2019 5:00 am
Last Updated: July 17, 2019 at 10:54 am
Carrie Fender was outside her Hiers Corner Road home the morning of July 9, watching the hustle and bustle as a construction team from Mission Serve worked on every side of her one-story home.
“I sent out an application about a year ago and about a week ago I was told they were coming,” Fender said.
The volunteer crew of teenaged workers, under the watchful eyes of their adult supervisors, repainted the exterior of the wood-sided home as their main task.
But they also had a number of other jobs to undertake at the home during the week they were in Walterboro.
They fixed the porch railing and front steps, repaired parts of the wood siding where necessary and fixed the home’s screen door. “They are doing everything,” Fender explained.
“They are an awesome, wonderful group,” Fender exclaimed. “I’m just so glad to have them in Walterboro. I can’t thank them enough.”
Johan McCary came to Walterboro from Saluda with his church group to participate in Mission Serve’s annual visit to town.
McCary was applying a coat of white paint from a ladder, stretching his brush out as far as he could before having to move his ladder to the next portion of the exterior wall.
McCary was the willing target of some back and forth bantering with two of the adult supervisors watching him work from ground level.
After McCary spelled his name from atop the ladder, one of the supervisors said, “Just put in Sweet Pea — we will be good with that.” Another observer suggested he should be identified as “Romeo” in the newspaper.
“He has had so many nicknames in the past two days,” the first man said.
The supervisor traveled to Walterboro from his Florida home. He has been involved in Mission Serve projects for 17 years. “This never gets old,” he said before calling a break for the teenaged workers when a Colleton County Fire-Rescue ambulance arrived at the worksite to deliver cool drinking water and icy treats.
The Walterboro and Colleton County fire departments for years have assumed the task of making sure the volunteers stay hydrated. On Hiers Corner Road, the clock was nearing 10 a.m. and the temperature was ready to enter the 90’s.
Keeping hydrated was even more important over on Josie Drive, where two Mission Service construction teams were up on the large, sun-baked roof of a ranch-style home.
Catching up with Scott Hanna, the program director for the Walterboro visit, proved difficult. “Once the week gets going, my schedule is very, very full and somewhat unpredictable,” he said.
“We’ve had 214 participants come in to our community from seven different churches from Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina,” Hanna said.
Add the number of local residents who have dedicated a week of their summer to the community project and the number climbs to 260.
“We have 13 worksites in the city and county. While most of the worksites have a Walterboro address, the volunteers were also out in Ruffin and Cottageville constructing wheelchair ramps,” he said.
There are 10 wheelchair ramps being built, one house being painted, and two roofs being replaced,” Hanna said. “We also have three community service squads traveling all around the area doing various yards chores like mowing, trimming and edging. There are a total of 17 service squads going out to all these various locations.”
Hanna said that over the years local organizations have embraced the annual visit. “From the Walterboro community, we have at least 18 different churches participating in hosting all the squads. There are several different denominations participating with us. Many, if not all, of these churches have contributed financially to this project. We also have local business partners who participate with us in this endeavor.“