The Palestine Herald, Palestine, Texas

Local Scene

June 21, 2014

Light bearers: U.M. Army students improve houses, lives

(Continued)

PALESTINE —

Over the week, student work crews contributed fresh enthusiasm and high metabolisms to assist residents in need with minor home repairs, catering especially to low-income, elderly or disabled individuals.

Sparks said the mission of the camp is to serve people in need, while promoting leadership development in youth.

Each day, students are given leadership roles such as “navigator” and “site leader” and, in addition, learn useful repair skills over the week — skills like wielding a hammer, as Sydney Stewart, 15, of Dayspring, put it.

“It's pretty cool! I'd never done hammer work before,” Stewart said. “You have to get toward the bottom of the hammer and not the top, so you can swing, and let the heaviest part hit it so it can hit it better — but I still don't know how to use the other end of it yet.”

Stewart said she also liked the morning and nightly worship services, as well as meeting the clients — a part of the experience that several students told the Herald-Press was a highlight.

Gracie Tyson, 16, of Lufkin FUMC, said worship services and “seeing the clients' reactions” were too her favorite part of the whole experience.

“Seeing clients reactions when we're finished, they're just so thankful,” Tyson said, “and it's a good feeling when you're finished.”

On Thursday, Stewart and Tyson were both busy with their crew building a wheelchair ramp for a local resident, a project that turned into a sort of multilayered job.

“We were supposed to be refurbishing this wheelchair ramp, but it was in worse shape that we thought,” Tyson said. “So we're probably going to have to rebuild it.”

The crew ended up pouring concrete as well between the curb and ramp for the resident, which involved lots of drilling, laying boards and painting.

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