Senior Volunteers Donate Time And Talents For Christian Mission Work - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/27/04

Senior Volunteers Donate Time And Talents For Christian Mission Work

You might call them "snowbirds on a mission".

A group of retired seniors parked their RV's in Biloxi for a three week stay. But these visitors are not your typical tourists. They're part of a unique Christian outreach called the United Methodist NOMADS.

The traveling retirees tackle various renovation and repair projects in communities across the country. The Biloxi project involves creating more classroom space for Moore Community House.

"It's like a family. When we get done, the three weeks is done, we're just like a family. We all cry when we say good bye. But it's the work and accomplishment that we do here. We enjoy it," said NOMAD, Kay Gibbs from Muncie, Indiana.

Ted Sheridan and his wife joined the NOMADS some six years ago. They were already avid RV travelers. Combining travel and community service work sounded interesting.

"There is just so many malls to go to and museums and things to see. After that you go back and can't do it again," he explained.

The three weeks of volunteer labor is a welcome gift for Moore Community House. These seniors are providing some much needed classroom space.

Margie Bennett is program director at  Moore Community House.

"They're serving. And doing a divine service unto the Lord. Because Moore Community House is a faith based mission agency. And just to see them so freely give of themselves. No task is too hard," she said.

These tireless volunteers become a close knit group by the end of their three week assignment. The program gives them a good feeling helping others and kindles some lasting friendships.

Stan Cottrill is a veteran NOMAD from Wisconsin.

"Gets just like a family after a week. When you get to know everybody, oh yeah," he said.

There's four days left on this project. After that, they'll hop in their RV's and head for the next assignment.

The United Methodist NOMADS began back in 1988. And it's not all work and no play for the group. They do get time off to enjoy some of the tourist attractions on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

By Steve Phillips

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