Maranatha Volunteers show many hands make light work

A group organized by Maranatha Volunteers International donated their time and energy to Union College July 6-17. Maranatha is an independent Seventh-day Adventist organization that constructs and repairs schools, churches, orphanages, clinics and other essential infrastructure around the world while encouraging people to make hands-on service part of their lives.

The extra hands helped Union’s Plant Services accomplish their long summer to-do list before students return in August. This summer, the volunteers’ priority was Prescott Hall, one of two men’s residence halls on campus. The volunteers painted door frames and walls, scrubbed scuff marks, re-glued baseboards, replaced all the electrical outlets in the rooms and hallways, and provided general maintenance. According to Wilson Hardy, college electrician, the volunteers’ aid saved Plant Services a month and a half’s worth of work.

As a side project, some of the volunteers also laid electrical wiring to help with the installation of a new gazebo on campus, the 2009 class gift.

Many of the volunteers have a special affection for Union as their alma mater. One alumnus, Charlie Henkelmann ’56, recalled Maranatha’s first visit to Union College in 1992, and the ensuing projects. “It gives them (Union) a boost,” Henkelmann said. “We help them get ready for the students.”

Sharon Schwartz ’66, became animated when she started talking about her reasons to volunteer. “I wanted to give back to Union,” she said. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to do something for Union College.’”

Doug Tallman, Union’s new dean of men, expressed the sentiments of the college’s administrators, saying, “It’s hard to put into words our gratitude for the group of Maranatha Volunteers who worked so tirelessly in Prescott Hall this summer … We could never have finished the work that was needed to be completed without their caring help.”