Neighbors helping neighbors

Published 10:00 pm Friday, July 22, 2016

Men of the Congregational Church take a rest break after completing a handicap ramp.

Men of the Congregational Church take a rest break after completing a handicap ramp.

Why did the Good Samaritan help the Jew that was lying injured at the side of the road? Maybe it was his way of repaying some stranger that had helped him when he needed it.

When a Congregational Church member was 16 years old, his dad died from cancer. The immediate problem his family faced was that there was over 100 acres of corn that needed to be picked before the fast-approaching winter and with just a one-row corn picker, it was going to take them many weeks.

Then, a few days after the funeral, neighbors from miles around came with corn pickers, tractors and wagons and did the job in one day. They were showing compassion and just trying to be good neighbors. If you asked them “Who is my neighbor?” they would have said, “The widow with five teenage kids who needs to have her corn picked.”

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We are all indebted to people who have been good neighbors and helped us when we needed it. We may not be able to repay them, but we can look for opportunities to show compassion and be a good neighbor to someone else.

Over the past 10 years or so, men from the Congregational Church of Tryon have been building handicap ramps for people throughout Polk County. The group just completed its 12th one the mornings of July 8 and 9.

Typically, it starts with a request to the board of Outreach from a social worker from Thermal Belt Outreach or St Luke’s Hospital. In the job they just completed, the resident is on oxygen and needs a walker to get around in her house. If she needed to leave the house, she had to be carried out by her son.

If the board of Outreach agrees to the request, the men decide on the building dates and ask for volunteers. It’s nice to get new participants, but the group has the best luck going to “the usual suspects,” people who have helped in the past. The skill levels range from “skilled” to “helper.” Since the ramp design is very similar from one job to the next, they have quite a few experienced people.

They were able to put together the following teams: Friday morning, July 8: Bob Quattlebaum, Bob Swann, Barney Eiserloh, Bill Boone, Doug Lyon, Mike Winterowd, Cliff Joens. Saturday morning, July 9: Manfred Walter, Warner Zipf, Brian Stechschulte, Rick King, Ron Wingo, Doug Lyon, Mike Winterrowd, Cliff Joens.

Obviously, being men, part of their reason for being there is to make wisecracks, exchange insults and show off their latest woodworking tools and pickup trucks. It’s all good.

The Congregational Church of Tryon, United Church of Christ (UCC), will be celebrating its 125th anniversary this year. The church has played an active role in the Tryon area since 1891.

– article submitted

by Ellen Harvey