Posts Tagged ‘building support’

By Karen DeMarino

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Richmond’s First Baptist Church has found ways to safely move forward with service, worship and fellowship, thanks to our dedicated “behind the scenes” building support team and custodial staff. While so many of us have been told to stay at home, these essential folks have the crucial responsibility of keeping our church building functioning safely. Our “lean and mean” teams are well-informed, committed and sincerely enjoy working together.

Bonnie Wilmoth, with the help of her hardworking support staff, oversees the day-to-day operations of our building maintenance for life-safety and security. “Our number one priority right now is to keep all our employees who still need to work in the building on a daily basis feeling safe, protected and comfortable.” For 34 years, Bonnie has been the “eyes and ears” of FBC not only during normal times but also during times of crises or emergencies. Additionally, she manages costs and estimates associated with building and grounds’ contractors and helps with Community Missions.

Barbara Jean Harris brightens up the room with her infectious smile and positive attitude! Demonstrating a new electrostatic sprayer, Barbara Jean expressed how safety and protection have ALWAYS been a priority for our church community. “Keeping the individual rooms within the building disinfected and sanitized is nothing new for us. We offer preschool classes to children with cancer and keeping the classrooms safe for them has always been a priority. The heightened care that has become so familiar to all of us during the pandemic is the way they live normally.” Barbara Jean has been with FBC for 20 years, loves her job and jokes that Bonnie is “glad to have me!”

Curnice Booker, recently recognized for 25 years of service, has a wide range of responsibilities both inside and on the grounds of FBC. Sometimes on a lift or behind the wheel of a bus, Curnice can be found maintaining our space by changing lights and steaming carpets, setting up the gym for Wednesday night dinner and outdoor snow removal. “I am so happy to work with the people I do. It makes a huge difference. It makes the day go better when you can work with people who make you laugh. I also find the personal contact to be nice. Pastor Jim makes personal phone calls, genuinely cares and appreciates what we all do, thanking us all the time.”

Annie McClenny answers our phones on Tuesdays, in person, and remotely from home the rest of the week during the pandemic. At the front desk, she makes sure that no one slips into the building unnoticed. And, she makes sure that all messages from our church family are brought to the attention of the right person. Annie also has “regulars” who call in just to talk. “I assess their needs and develop a plan that may include food or medicine being dropped off. Or sometimes they just need to talk through their problems and have someone listen.”

Amy Howard makes sure that all our rooms, offices and “high-touch” areas are hygienic. “The detailed cleaning that typically happens during our August shut-down is actually happening now. We are steaming carpets, washing windows, cleaning baseboards, radiators and furniture. Floors are being waxed and fresh coats of paint have been applied where needed,” said Amy. Since the pandemic, we’re taking additional daily measures like propping all doors open and wiping down all door handles.

John Pettigrew takes care of second floor custodial duties in the classrooms and third floor youth areas. He also rings the bell tower on Sunday morning, and for funerals and special events. But John’s most important responsibility is to keep our Sanctuary immaculate and ready for Sunday service. “I want our “mother ship” to shine and look beautiful and be better than anything else in the building. I take pride in what it looks like because it is our most important area and is holy ground. I won’t even wear my shoes in the Sanctuary after it has been cleaned.”

Ron Maxwell works with the building support team and, pre-pandemic, took care of daily event set-up. In the afternoons, he cleans and sanitizes the preschool rooms. Ron has a kind “helper-heart” and genuinely enjoys his 20 years with First Baptist.

Beanie Brooks has run a tight ship in Food Service for almost 24 years. She manages the overall budget, orders and organizes food and disposable supplies, creates menus and oversees food prep for events. “I have a wonderful team and thoroughly enjoy working with them. Everyone is very knowledgeable and ‘hands-on’ at all times.” Beanie also noted that she is “ServSafe” certified and is tested annually. Additionally, she is licensed by the VA Health Department, which is governed by the CDC. Beanie explained, “I have continually posted signs saying, ‘Wash Hands ALWAYS’ all around the kitchen!” Additionally, Beanie is gaining quite a following of her own on Pastor Jim’s Facebook group page by sharing her delicious recipes daily. She calls herself a “stress-cooker” and joked that her own food bill has tripled since the pandemic. Beanie also orders supplies for our food pantry and manages the volunteers that help our ministry serve those in desperate need. “Our First Baptist volunteers are amazing! Some of them have been helping our ministries longer than I have been with the church.”

Keith Davenport can be found in the kitchen most Mondays and Thursdays cooking something unique and always tasty! Not only does Keith prepare meals for our staff and members, he also prepares bagged lunches for the homeless who visit our door several times a week.

Vanessa Carter works with the team in Food Service, cleaning and cooking, and has been with FBC for over 30 years providing help where it is needed.

Ben Capps is responsible for keeping our entire kitchen, including dishes, walls and floors immaculate.

Collectively, over 200 years of dedicated service has been provided by our faithful building support team and custodial staff. From behind the scenes, they are what make First Baptist church operate efficiently and they all do so, happily, with faith, hope and love.

Karen DeMarino

Karen DeMarino serves as our Social Outreach Coordinator. Karen comes from a marketing communications background, most recently working with the Diocese of Richmond’s Department of Education as marketing director for 29 Catholic schools in Virginia. Additionally, Karen is marketing consultant for All Saints Catholic School and serves on their marketing board. Karen has two adult teens, Adreanna and John, and a rescue pup, Scruffy.

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