Students spend week helping out in Selma

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 23, 2003

One volunteer holds a post steady as another begins to hammer.

A few feet away, a third volunteer carefully places goggles on before cutting into a large section of wood that will soon become a floor.

It’s a scene that could be seen anywhere in Dallas County, but these volunteers aren’t from here. They’re from Minnesota.

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According to Mike Anderson, a Volunteers in Service Internationally or Nationally member, the group is in the Selma area for one week to work on some projects off of County Road 35.

The projects, Anderson said, include fixing a leaky drain in a bathroom, putting in a new floor, and rebuilding the front porch of the Champion’s family home.

Wednesday afternoon, VISION members Nicole Meidl and Melissa Jones continued work on fixing the front porch of the Champion’s home.

Jones said that the deck had been rotting, and they were in the process of making it safer for everyone.

Meidl added that a third of the porch is already rebuilt, and that she thought they’d be finished with the work by Friday.

Kevin Hadsall, another VISION volunteer from Minnesota, said that he was working on fixing the floor of a back room in the home.

Hadsall added that the bathtub had been leaking and caused the floor to rot and begin to cave in.

While vinyl wouldn’t be put down by the day’s end, Hadsall said, the Champion’s would have a new floor.

The VISION group arrived in Selma Monday morning and will stay until Saturday afternoon.

The leaders of the week long mission trip, Rocio Montalvo and Anderson, said that before volunteers can join the trip they must first go through an interview process.

Montalvo said that 10 volunteers are chosen for the trip. From there, four different orientation sessions occur before travel actually begins.

The orientation sessions, Anderson added, emphasize traits such as simplicity, spirituality and culture.

An example of simplicity would be what to leave behind when on the trip, Anderson said.

Instead of everyone bringing their own CD’s for this trip, Anderson said, the group made one CD together. Also, items like make-up and razors were left behind.

The group, which is staying at the Eagle’s Nest, an office and residence for the Edmundite Missions Corps, decided on their first day in Selma that they wouldn’t use the computer or television during their stay.

This is because, Montalvo said, a big part of the trip is to forget the distractions of life.

Both leaders had similar reasons for getting involved in volunteerism.

Montalvo said she wants to be a good Christian, and that her spirituality grows through outreach and volunteering.

Anderson said being a part of volunteer trips is a good way to meet people from other cultures.

Also, Anderson said that one day he realized he had spent 19 comfortable years in Minnesota and was ignorant of some things that were going on in his own country.

Anderson said that once returning home after a mission trip he has a better appreciation of what he has, and that he can put the recent experience to action by finding ways to serve in his own community.

Montalvo agreed.