A group that provided tornado relief in Faulkner County last year returned over the holiday weekend to do volunteer work in the area once again.
Project Compassion, a volunteer effort based out of The Charles Finney School in Penfield, NY, was designed by the Rev. Dr. Peter Burch to get students out of the classroom and into disaster areas, primarily, helping people in need.
Burch said it was raining heavily when the group first arrived in Conway, and so Rennie Tarpley of His Place His Way Ministries found the group a couple of indoor projects to work on. The team, made up of four 17-year-old boys and two men, built bunk beds for Last Chance Ministries and STAND, both of which assist the homeless and those overcoming addiction.
"The bunk beds took a lot of time because we had never done it before. We just looked at the ones they had there and went from there," he said. "We were there from about 10 (a.m.) to 5 (p.m.)."
When the rain relented, the group built a new fence for the Rick Simon family who lost a barn and farm equipment in the 2014 tornado. They also spent time landscaping at One Way Church in the Friendship Community, he said. On Monday, the team was working at a tornado site in Moore, Okla., before heading on to another one in Illinois, Burch said.
Jacob Bean, 17, said he enjoyed "Making (people’s) lives easier, serving God, reaping the benefits of serving others — I find that very rewarding in and of itself, and I think it’s really cool."
Kenneth Watson, also 17, said, "It’s been great to get together with a bunch of guys from school and go help people, serve them, serve God. It’s good to get away, not have stress, and help people out with tornado relief. I like the closeness we get with the team, particularly on this team, how we get along and get to know each other better."
Both boys said they had been on a number of trips with Project Compassion doing volunteer work before. The trip that brought the group through Faulkner County was a 14-day journey covering seven states, Burch said.
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