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Posts Tagged ‘First Helpers’

Story and photos by Susan Brown.

Economic difficulties often spark creativity.

When First Baptist’s budget had less room for maintenance costs, Bonnie Wilmoth, Facilities Director, and Billy Burford, Church Administrator, started First Helpers. These volunteers pick jobs that match their skill sets from a list on the Maintenance Request Board. Some are able to help each week; others on a less regular basis. Bonnie comments that “their work has been a real blessing to the Church.”

calloutIn addition to routine maintenance chores, a group of First Helpers has taken on a massive project to upgrade lighting throughout the church building. In early fall 2011, Bonnie noticed that the fluorescent lighting tubes she usually purchased were being replaced by brighter, more efficient ones. In addition, the new fluorescent tubes would require new ballasts (the devices which regulate the electrical current in the tube).

Bonnie and Billy asked David Warner to lead a group of volunteers to update

First Helpers

David Jackson, Jeff Dortch
and Joe Evans

FBC’s 1,000 or so ceiling fixtures. With his background in electronic technology and previous experience with major electrical renovations at Richmond Baptist Association’s Camp Alkulana, he was well prepared to recruit, train, schedule, and ensure the safety of volunteers. A deadline of twelve months was set to convert all the fixtures.

First Helpers

team leader David Warner

Early on, David enlisted Jeff Dortch and Joe Evans, experienced First Helpers volunteers. Because Jeff has his own contracting business and can keep his own schedule, he frequently checks the Maintenance Request Board list and makes repairs during the week. Since Joe retired in 2010, he has enjoyed helping with various jobs that match his skills. He comments, “I really like the camaraderie of working with church members and getting to know them better.” Other volunteers had worked together on a previous electrical project for the Richmond Baptist Association.

The FBC Lighting Project Team usually works as a group on Saturdays when everyone who can shows up for two to three hours to get a sizable chunk of work done. There are also individual efforts on weekdays when a volunteer has the time and the inclination to work on his or her own.

Some helpers needed training. Millie Barnes approached her duties with cautious willingness and made certain she reviewed procedures until she was confident about what she was doing. Millie, wearing her at-the-ready tool belt, stated: “I have even bought a new tool or two to make the wire stripping easier and to make each conversion go more quickly.”

As a result of the team’s efforts, the work is well ahead of schedule with plans to complete this huge project in July 2012.

FBC Lighting Project Team: Millie Barnes, David Beach, Wayne Davis, Jeff Dortch, Gary Eck, Joe Evans, David Jackson, Ron Jackson, Bob Robinson, and David Warner, team leader.


Susan Brown

Susan Brown and husband Frank were invited to FBC by son Matthew, father of Madison, Adam and Jonathan and husband of Candi, FBC Minister to Children. Since then Susan has found a wonderful community and a place in For Ladies Only, Women On Mission, Upward Basketball, the Baptism Committee, the Weekday Early Education Board, FBC Budget Team, and the Buddy Hamilton Sunday School Class. She enjoys serving others as Jesus leads, time spent with family and sharing photos with others.

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