A firm foundation of faith, service

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Salkehatchie Summer Service campers spread Christian love one nail at a time

By Jesef Williams

Jesef Williams
Will Shetley admits he wasn’t too excited about taking part in this year’s Salkehatchie Summer Service program.
The 14-year-old from Union said his mother and grandfather years ago participated in  Salkehathchie, which recruits teens throughout the state to make home repairs for residents who aren’t able to afford the work.
Though somewhat honored to be carrying on a family tradition, Will didn’t think he would enjoy it that much. But after a week of work and fellowship, his tone changed.
“Fun,” said Will, summarizing the weeklong experience in one word.
“I’ve had a lot of chances to meet new friends and bond with everybody and help these people.”
Will was among the 36 people who made repairs and enhancements to four houses in Lancaster County last week.
Two of the houses are side by side on Massey Road. One is on Old Charlotte Road and the other on Usher Road.
“You still get up early and you still have to work all day, but it’s fun,” Will said. “I know I’m coming back next year.”
Dorothy Nesbit, 61, was one of the residents who benefited from this year’s Salkehatchie program. She lives in one of the Massey Road houses. Her sister, Frankie Mickles, occupies the other.
At Nesbit’s house, the campers laid new shingles, installed four new windows and installed vinyl underpinning.
She appeared to be especially appreciative of the latter task.
“Stray cats and dogs get under the house and tear up stuff,” she said. “So that underpinning was a big blessing for me.”
At her sister’s house next door, the campers replaced room doors, painted inside, placed vinyl siding around the house’s exterior and installed underpinning.
“This is nothing but a blessing,” Nesbit said. “On top of that, they’re such a great group. You can tell God has sent them.”
Teens pay to take part in the annual program, which is run by Methodist churches.
Of the group in Lancaster, about 10 were first-time campers.
St. Luke United Methodist Church in Lancaster sponsors the teen campers each summer. They lodge at the church each night during the week and eat meals at various other Methodist churches in the county.
In addition to the home repairs, the week featured plenty of fellowship and Bible study.
“It’s not really about the houses at all. It’s about serving God,” camp director David Hagins said. “This has been a great group.”


Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152