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It was a beautiful sunny week for our closing in Breathitt County.  We still had Dave and Patti Hughes as Project Director and Office Manager and Ivan and Anna Mary Martin continued as our cooks.  Our weekly volunteers were from a variety of places: a couple from Lancaster, Pa, and individual men from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Ohio.  Within a short time we all seemed like family.  It is wonderful to watch a team form each week, but since few of our workers knew each other before arriving, it was particularly interesting this week.

This was the time to complete what we had begun. At Michelle Mullins’ home we installed doors last week and had to put up some drywall to close one of the openings. We painted this as well as the doors and frames.  We also completed the second coat of paint for Rena Ritchie’s front porch.  It looks wonderful, and she is so very grateful.  We stopped to have her sign off the job card and presented her with a wall hanging and prayed a blessing on her household. Previous volunteers will be interested to know that her neighbors have started cleaning up their property.

Another project we worked on this week was a team effort with the non-profit Housing Development Alliance.  This was at the home of Robert and Shona White.  We assisted their crew to build a porch and steps, install two inside and two exterior doors, and do some drywall and painting work.  The remaining work will be completed by Housing Development Alliance workers.  Our volunteers said they were good to work with and they had fun together.

We also did a little more work at Bethel Camp. There were holes to patch in the rec room, and it got a fresh coat of paint. 

We had a special presentation on Tuesday evening. Volunteer Dan Eddy gave a dramatic recitation of the book of Philippians, complete with costume.  It seemed as if the apostle Paul was speaking directly to us. We had guests that evening as well; our neighbors, Eldon and Ella June Miller joined us for dinner. Following the Philippians presentation, they told their story of coming to work in Kentucky for six months and staying for 60 years!  Eldon pointed out that he would never have expected the many turns his life in the mountains took, but God seemed to direct his path. It was a blessed time of inspiration.

As a gesture of their appreciation, the Breathitt County Long Term Recovery Team invited us for dinner in Jackson at the Senior Center on Wednesday. After a wonderful meal, a local librarian and historian regaled us with stories of Breathitt County past and present.  We learned of their struggles to provide immediate water and shelter immediately after the flood, which happened just one year ago this week.

Anna Mary and Ivan are somewhat new to MDS, though not to cooking for volunteers.  It just seemed like they should have official MDS aprons, so we had a couple of them shipped and surprised them with new blue logo aprons. Ivan was also very helpful with vehicle maintenance on this project.

So, it is time to say farewell to the mountains of Kentucky.  Many people in the community have expressed their gratitude, and as Project Director, Dave thanks everyone for coming. Every bit of work has been important and appreciated, and we give the glory to God for it all.


Patti Hughes

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