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A Labor of Love

Maranda Wolf is all smiles as she watches the construction of her new ramp. Having a new ramp will enable her to become more independent. Photo by Christie Slocum

The weather was not ideal for the nearly 200 volunteers who came to Walterboro this past week with the heat index soaring upward of 105 degrees. On the job sites you rarely heard anyone complaining as they were ripping off old shingles, hanging new siding, hammering nails into new roofs, constructing new handicap ramps, and sprucing up the yard even as you watched their clothes become wetter with sweat. In the evenings when most construction workers would be lethargic from working in the day’s brutal sun, the Mission Serve volunteers were celebrating at the Colleton County High School at the opportunity God had given them to come to Colleton County and serve Him through working on homes and running back yard Bible clubs. Anyone who watched could see everything they touched was a labor of love.
Standing in his yard, longtime downtown resident Riley Kennedy watched the crew of 22 work on his roof. As a member of New Life United Methodist Church, he had participated in helping feed youth volunteers over the years. He knew his home was in need of a new roof and was unsure how he was going to afford to replace it. He mentioned his hardship and was reminded by Clarence Albright and Patricia Grant of the program. “It really feels like a miracle. I have lived in this home for 20 years and in all my life I never could have imagined something like this would happen for me,” said Kennedy as he watched in disbelief as the kids worked.

Sabrina Graham, Executive Director with the Lowcountry Council of Governments, surveys the work being completed on North Lemacks Street with homeowner Joy Lynah and crew. Photo by Christie Slocum

Homeowner Stephanie Mitchell on Wiley Street was no stranger to the mission’s program. Her home on Wiley Street had been painted two years earlier by Mission Serve volunteers. This year, her home qualified to receive a new roof. Her roof was a challenge as the pitch of her roof was very steep. Construction Coordinator Billy Cain insisted only older kids were allowed to climb on top. This is where we found volunteer Zy Hunter of Tennessee and Elisa Gonzales of Florida, proving girls can be roofers too.
“My family moved into this home in 1954.” said Mitchell. “My father died the night we moved in. My mother raised six kids here. This house has always been special and provided a place for my family and me to always come back to. Mission Serve is a wonderful program. The kids who have worked here are always so kind. The program teaches these kids respect and how to care about others. It has truly been a blessing to me.” said Mitchell.
At a residence on Colleton Loop, adult volunteer Brad Kay from Vera Beach Florida worked on cleaning up a job site as kids from his church were reroofing the home. He was quick to say he was retired, but many adults who come with the youth are using their vacation time to come to Walterboro and serve the Lord. “As followers of Jesus we are told to lead by example. The Bible says we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth and our group wants to go to parts of the country that need light and salt. Walterboro is an exceptional community and we feel this is where God wants us. It is a blessing to us to be able to come here. It is a wonderful place with fantastic people,” he said.
A total of four projects downtown were made possible by a grant written by the Lowcountry Council of Governments (LCOG). The group qualified homeowners based on a financial need. They purchased the materials needed for the projects. This was the last year LCOG will help fund projects in the Walterboro area as the grant they wrote is expiring. Sabrina Graham, Executive Director of LCOG, was impressed with the amount of work the groups have completed and the happiness of the homeowners.
Civitans also pitched in this year and helped by providing the materials to build a new handicap ramp for 12-year-old Maranda Wolf. The girl’s mother, Gail, thinks the work being done for Maranda and their family is just awesome. “As a single parent, there is no way I would have been able to do all of this. Maranda will now be able to be more independent instead of all of us having to push and pull her up and down her old ramp that was starting to fall apart. I had always heard of World Changers and Mission Serve, I just never expected to have them working on my house,” said the thankful mother. The new ramp should last the family 10-15 years.
They came, they worked, and they worshiped. Project Coordinator and local pastor Scott Hanna is hoping the organization will be able to return to Walterboro again next year. Prayers are being lifted that local businesses and residents will come forward and make pledges to fund the program for next year since the grant money will not be available. If you or your business would like to make a pledge or donation to bring the mission program back to Walterboro for the 10th year, please contact Zane Brown at the Colleton Baptist Association or Scott Hanna at Black Creek Baptist Church.

Christie Slocum (350 Posts)