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Why do Paul and Lisa Schamback do service with Mennonite Disaster Service (MDS)? “We like helping people,” said Lisa.

The couple, from Croghan, New York, are serving in Grand Isle, La. through the MDS Recreational Vehicle (RV) program. While at the project they live in their 24-foot Thor motor home.

“It’s fulfilling,” said Lisa, 67, who serves as office manager at the project. “It’s what God wants us to do.”

At the same time “it’s fun!” exclaimed, Lisa, who bred Golden Doodle puppies before retiring. “We really like doing it, meeting new people, making new friends for a lifetime.”

For Paul, a semi-retired cabinet maker, it’s also about helping homeowners get back home after a disaster—like Hurricane Ida, which hit Grand Isle, a barrier Island off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, in 2021.

“It’s good to see someone get back on their feet after a disaster,” he said. “It’s good to be part of that process.”

The couple, members of the Lowville Mennonite Church, has lost track of how many times they have served with MDS. “Maybe 20?” Lisa guessed. Over the past seven years through the RV program they have served in Florida, Texas, California.

Gettting away from winter is another reason they like the RV program.

“The weather is beautiful, lots of sunshine,” said Lisa, adding the campground where the MDS volunteers park their RVs is “right on the beach. We can hear the ocean waves. What’s not to like?”

The two, who served in Grand Isle from January to March, provide leadership to the project; Paul as Project Director, Lisa as Office Manager.

“Those jobs fit our skills and interests,” Lisa said.

“We will keep doing this kind of service until we aren’t able to anymore,” added Paul, adding “it’s not like us to want to sit on a beach. We like to keep busy.”

The MDS RV program is designed for older adults who want to serve in the southern U.S. during the winter. More laid-back in nature than traditional projects, volunteers work four days a

week, six hours a day, usually on lighter repair projects. The term of service is one month or more. Hookups are provided in local campgrounds.

For more information about the MDS RV program, visit https://mdsorg.wpenginepowered.com/rv-volunteer

John Longhurst, MDS Canada Communications


Click here to view “Faces of MDS RV program in Louisiana”

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