Cadet volunteers began their trip on Sunday afternoon as they flew from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Knoxville, Tenn., where the Mission of Hope is located. Once in Knoxville, the cadets met with Mission of Hope Executive Director Emmett Thompson and set up a plan of action for their upcoming trip to Bell County.
“I’m just enjoying being here,” stated Thompson, “and we’re thrilled that these cadets have volunteered their time to come down and work with us.”
After traveling to Middlesboro on Monday, the group worked with 78-year-old Middlesboro resident Matti Conner. Conner’s home, located on 27th Street, was in need of some minor repairs. The volunteers spent the day repairing Conner’s tattered fence, painting her porch and landscaping her yard. Thompson said projects like the one at Conner’s gave the group a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
The Cooperative Christian Ministry Organization in Middlesboro received a helping hand from the group on Tuesday. Cadets Erinn Scott, Lauren Allison, Amanda Peck, Kaleb Marsh and Gray Thompson prepared food distribution boxes, stocked pantry shelves and assisted with some general maintenance projects around the ministry.
Due to rainy weather, mission volunteers spent Wednesday with Bell-Whitley Community Action Agency’s Housing Specialist Norman Cornelius. The group even attended a Wednesday evening church service with Cornelius and his family. The cadets took that time to speak with the church youth group and explain why they were doing volunteer work miles from home on their Spring Break.
Thompson commended Bell-Whitley for their partnership and accommodations.
Before the group departs, they will volunteer with Jim and Sharon Teaney at the Lighthouse Mission Center.
The Mission of Hope has many approaches to service, but the ultimate goal is to provide whatever assistance they can to the people of Appalachia. When a need is identified, mission volunteers attempt to bring together the materials and resources for a solution to the problem.
Mission of Hope volunteers will return to Bell County during the end of April to participate in the Repair Affair project directed by Bell-Whitley.
Sarah Miracle is a staff writer for the Daily News. She can be contacted via e-mail at email@example.com.