August 22, 2023
Volunteers from Community Mennonite Church find meaningful work in the mountains of Hurley, Virginia
By Andrea Wenger
Seven volunteers from the Community Mennonite Church (CMC) in Harrisonburg, Virginia, traveled to Hurley, Virginia for a week in July to help flood survivors recover.
CMCers enjoyed the hospitality, beauty, and camaraderie that Hurley provided through MDS. We worked on finishing a house for a woman whose home was ripped off its foundation in a matter of hours following a 100-year flood in August of 2021. This is the 7th house MDS has built in Hurley.
Tasks for the week included painting and installing trim, kitchen cabinets, and interior doors; electrical wiring, hanging fixtures and more. We stayed in the MDS “camp” of RVs and trailers at the Hurley Community Center.
A group of young men from Lancaster County were at the camp during the week to work on another site. Laura Zimmerman and Marlene Wenger from a Weaverland Mennonite community in Port Byron, New York, fed us well. Frank Hoover from the Lancaster area provided coordination. Prayers, devotions, singing, and visiting rounded out meal times and evening.
MDS is a great way to get to know people, learn about another part of the world, and take a break from some of the distractions that can take our attention during regular life.
— Andrea Wenger
We visited Poplar Gap Park in Buchanan County, where we saw a herd of elk grazing. The well-outfitted park with athletic fields, playground equipment, and picnic shelters was built on a former strip mine. The beautiful park on reclaimed land is a complicated relationship of economic growth atop the environmental degradation and devastation caused by mountaintop removal and strip mining.
We heard good things about CMC engineer Johann Zimmerman from our hosts, who have learned to know him through his frequent trips to the area for bridge repair (apparently, he has found all the swim holes!).
Lots of CMC love in this area!
MDS is a great way to get to know people, learn about another part of the world, and take a break from some of the distractions that can take our attention during regular life. Next time the call goes out for a crew, consider fitting it into your schedule!