Mission Serve volunteers patch roofs, make connections in Macon

Miriam Mack has been having trouble with her house for a while, but she got help from an unexpected source this week.

Mack, who cares for her son and grandson, was sitting on her Boone Street front porch Thursday morning while Mission Serve volunteers from across the country worked on her roof after tiling her bathroom.

Mack loves puzzles, and she was two weeks into a 1,000-piece Easter Egg puzzle that she said she might get framed.

“When you’re doing a puzzle, you don’t think about your problems,” she said. “You just think about the puzzle.”

Mission Serve is a faith-based, nonprofit that partners with churches and local governments to upgrade substandard housing in various cities, according to its website. The organization sent 100 volunteers to Macon to work on houses this week.

Deborah Rollins, executive director for Rebuilding Macon, said her nonprofit partnered with Mission Serve, finding houses for the volunteers to work on and providing them with construction materials.

The banging of hammers didn’t bother Mack. In fact, she said she would “miss them when they’re gone.”

Many of the Mission Serve volunteers are high school or college students.

Jimmie “Sarge” Montgomery, a 77-year-old volunteer from Pleasant Grove, Ala., is the crew leader of the Mission Serve group. He has been doing construction on mission trips for years and said he loves working with the young volunteers.

“If they are willing to learn, I am willing to teach them,” he said.

Montgomery said he looks at Mission Serve as an opportunity “to help those who can’t help themselves ... physically but also spiritually.”

Taylor Schuchter, a 16-year-old from High Point Baptist Church in Alexandria, Ky., said she gave up a week of her summer break to “get closer to my youth group and to God.”

She had never been on a roof before coming to Macon, and she said she was terrified at first.

“But now I’m walking around up here like it’s nothing,” she said.

Several of the volunteers are from areas of Alabama that were hit by a string of tornadoes more than a year ago.

Bradley Waldrop, a 21-year-old student, lived in one of the first houses to be hit in Pleasant Grove.

The tornado destroyed his home, but everyone in his house survived, and he went right to work.

“I was very blessed to just be able to get up and go and start helping out,” he said.

The Mission Serve team will patch four roofs and give paint jobs to five houses during the week in Macon.

To contact writer Liz Bibb, call 744-4425.