Several years ago at Alamosa SERVE in Colorado, my work group was given the assignment of building a wheel chair ramp for a retired Air Force Veteran on limited resources who was caring for a disabled friend in his home. The project involved taking out steps and part of a front porch, and figuring out a way to adapt the ramp into the existing structure. On my first SERVE, back in 2001 in Michigan, I was assigned the same task, and I recalled the time it took and how overwhelming that assignment seemed.
Through lots of prayer and some outside assistance it was completed back then. This time, thanks to the learning experience and others like it on prior SERVE’s, plus being blessed with some very talented youth in my group, we were able to finish the basic structure in just one day. The rest of the week was spent putting on the finishing touches, applying a fresh coat of paint where needed, and constructing a staircase on the back side of the home.
In our experience, we saw that although Fred, the retired vet, didn’t have much in terms of possessions, he was willing to open up his home to help a friend in need. When we were given $200 to look for someone that week who we could bless the money with, our group chose to give it to Fred, because he had shown the sacrificial love for someone else just as our Lord did while on this earth.
Even though we didn’t meet that friend, since he was receiving treatment in Denver hundreds of miles away, we were able to experience his joy through the smiles of pride and tears of joy that flowed from Fred’s face when the project was completed. I will never forget the sense of satisfaction we all felt in giving back our time and talents for someone who had also served his country. I don’t remember much about the first wheel chair ramp installed in Michigan, but I know even though it’s been years since then, I had the same feeling and blessing, which is what SERVE is all about.
-Don Koops, Youth Unlimited Board Member