NEWBERRY COUNTY — Lutherans partnered Saturday with volunteers from throughout Newberry and the Midlands for Operation Inasmuch’s day of service.
Projects ranged all across the county from Prosperity to Silverstreet and from Pomaria to Newberry.
In Prosperity, a group from the Pomaria/St. John’s parish and from Macedonia Lutheran Church built walls on a storage shed and painted a new room in the Freedom and Hope Lodge.
“We have done a lot over the years with the Freedom and Hope Foundation,” volunteer Chad Shealy said. “We have even taken kids hunting and fishing before (apart from his site) because we like what Terry (Cotney) is doing. It’s amazing to see what gets done in a place when people get involved and come together.”
The friends — Mike Bowers, Dick Haug, Ron Hope, Chad Shealy, Buck Stuck and Barron Meetze — have teamed up for Operation Inasmuch together before. Two years ago they worked on a project at the Boy’s Farm, plowing up a garden spot and running irrigation to blueberry bushes.
Prayer inspired volunteers from Living Faith Victory Church to come from West Columbia up to Newberry to do their part.
The church has a group that prays for their town, for the nation or the world and for areas around South Carolina.
“God put Newberry on our hearts and that call of the Lord led us to see what we could do as a part of Operation Inasmuch,” Living Faith member Lisa Gleason said. “Pastor George (Tasezki) said he felt it on his heart that we needed to pray for Newberry. Then we saw the article (It was God’s timing) so we came here to visit with residents (at Jessie Frank Hawkins facility).”
Home repairs strengthen faith
For Mary Graham of Silverstreet and other homeowners in need, the day of service from Operation Inasmuch provided much needed help they could not have received otherwise.
Graham, 85, is on a fixed income and was not able to hire someone to make the repairs to her home. She said some of the repairs she had hired out in the past turned out to be of poor quality, compounding the problem.
Her home needed caulking around windows, painting inside, bathroom repairs, an outdoor access door and underskirting. Volunteers also installed a ceiling fan for her which was outside the scope of original repairs but fell within their skill set.
“These people truly were heaven-sent,” Graham said. “Once I got used to the group they were very good about checking to see what I needed. I really appreciate it.”
Graham has lived in Silverstreet since 1947. She worships regularly at Little River Baptist Church and had scripture on the walls of her home and religious reading material on her coffee table.
Since she became widowed, home repairs became more than she could keep up with even with support from family members.
Her daughter learned of the Inasmuch program and helped get Graham in touch with leaders who determined her site was a good fit for the day of outreach.
One of her sons rolled up his sleeves to work alongside the volunteers from Clayton Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church.
The second oldest of 11 children, Graham said her life has been about service to others.
At age 21 she helped raise the rest of the family and later worked at Damon International until the shirt factory closed. Prior to 1965 she worked alongside her husband farming cotton and growing vegetables for the family table.
She said she used to take older people places and bake cakes for them and that it did her heart good to see others out doing for elderly folks.
Volunteer Marsha Stone and her husband Rob have worked for at least four years with Inasmuch.
“It’s a good time of year to be out volunteering with an organized effort to do something helpful,” she said.
Clayton Memorial volunteer Ricardo Castillo agreed.
In other years he and the Clayton Memorial group helped with a local woman’s shelter and he said he had helped with electrical work at Graham’s home before.
“It feels good to do this and volunteer,” Castillo said. “It’s a good niche and a way to give back.”
Operation Inasmuch continues May 3 with a yard sale in the Tractor Supply parking lot.
Pastor Jason Antley said donations of housewares, kitchenware, electronics, farm equipment, gardening items, beauty aids, toys, bikes, tools, art, books, and movies still are being accepted.
The 7 a.m. yard sale benefits Women on a Mission and the Newberry Free Medical Clinic.
Call or email Amy Kitchen for pick up arrangements at firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-271-6035.