Assistant Managing Editor
Scraping, peeling, priming and painting a house on West Auglaize Street, volunteers from local churches put in the hard work to help someone else.
“You never know what anyone else’s situation is,” said Betty Wellman. “If I needed it, I hope they would do the same for me.”
Wellman has helped with the annual Servants Day, held Saturday, since it started four years ago.
“It is a good thing,” she said while peeling paint from a ladder Saturday.
Organized by the Wapakoneta Area Ministerial Association, friends, neighbors and church members joined together throughout the community to help others as part of Servants Day, held each September. No experience was necessary.
Quoting the “Christ Has No Body” poem, flyers advertising the day encouraged members of the community to help their neighbors by serving as Christ’s hands and feet on earth.
The 120 volunteers who signed up to help this year worked on projects to rebuild steps, interior and exterior painting, yard work, reproofing, and electrical work.
Servants Day coordinator Rachel Barber said the idea grew out of a recommendation from a Wapakoneta Steering Committee working on a comprehensive plan.
“We noticed situations where people were having difficulty maintaining homes,” Barber said. “People literally couldn’t get it done.”
Anyone asking for help could receive it through the day, with forms available at area churches and local food pantries.
“There is a whole diverse array of people we help, with a lot of them older, widows or single moms,” Barber said.
She said Servants Day is a reminder that “we all need to look after each other.”
“The commitment people have to this is amazing,” Barber said, explaining that many will even return after the day is over to work on projects that need more attention.
Connie Andrews, who attends St. Johns and Uniopolis United Methodist churches, had never participated in Servants Day before but heard about it and wanted to help.
“I wanted to help somebody who needs help,” said Andrews, who was excited for the day to begin. “We are supposed to be servants of Christ. Hopefully more people will get involved in helping their neighbors in the name of Christ.”
Joining her was Heather Arbogast, who didn’t have any experience painting, but found herself priming a house before it was repainted on Saturday.
“I wanted to help the community, said the member of Uniopolis United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Pat Sloneker of St. Joseph Catholic Church described the event, which he participates in annually, as awesome.
Parmie Herman, who was leading a crew of volunteers at the house on West Auglaize Street, said restoring the outside of the house through painting and simple carpentry repairs was a big job, but one they planned on finishing. With nine people working on the house that morning, reinforcements were on the way to help get the job done.
Herman has been helping with the community service day since it began and has found herself painting houses and doing repairs in years past.
“It’s a way to give back to our community in our own backyard,” Herman said. “I can drive down the street and know I helped. It makes it real. We just are not going somewhere, helping and then leaving.”
A member of St. Paul United Church of Christ, Herman said there is a great satisfaction that goes with knowing she helped someone as best she could.
In addition to helping others, Herman said the day also provides an opportunity to meet new people from other churches as they all work together toward a common goal.
“We all believe in the same God and the same type of service,” Herman said.