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Mission group shares experiences

Published: Monday, July 15, 2013 5:00 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, July 15, 2013 6:11 p.m. CDT

RIVERSIDE — A group of 39 volunteers from Ascension Lutheran Church in Riverside recently headed to Appalachia to help repair the homes of five families in need in Breathitt County, Ky. 

The volunteers will discuss their stores as part of the Appalachia Service Project during a worship service at 9 a.m. July 21 at Ascension Lutheran Church, 400 Nuttall Road. 

For the past 17 years, the church has been a part of the project. This summer, the volunteers were organized into five teams under Patrick Murphy, Terri Lynne Culloden, Nancy Bernhardt, Mike Biro, Joe Cooper, Bob Erbach and Tim Murphy. The teams repaired trailers and built wheelchair ramps. Sts. Peter and Paul Lutheran Church in Riverside worked with Ascension to send youth and to fundraise for the trip.

Breathitt County is one of the 10 poorest counties in the United States. Although it is below the country’s averages for income, education and employment, home ownership, and years living in the same home rank higher than the national averages. Breathitt County is located at the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. 

A local school served as the program’s center for lodging and building supplies in Kentucky. Volunteers slept in classrooms and ate meals in the cafeteria. Volunteers connected with the work site families and one another each day as they talked and shared brown-bag lunches. At the end of the week, there was a picnic with all the families and volunteers at the local city park.

The mission for the program is to make homes warmer, safer and drier in low-income rural Appalachia. 

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