A group from the United Methodist Church Salkehatchie Summer Service team is braving the heat to do repair work on the home of a Richland County sheriff’s deputy who’s fighting cancer.
All this week, volunteers as young as 14 years old are working to replace the roof and wood trim, paint and do landscaping at the home of Deputy Mark Ryan.
Ryan, a single father of three girls, is battling stage 4 lung cancer and has been unable to complete the necessary projects around the house.
Ryan’s youngest daughter, Cassidy, 15, said her father was happy for the support and loved helping the team finish some of the repairs he wanted to get done before he was diagnosed.
“He wasn’t able to finish the [drainage],” Cassidy said. “He wasn’t able to do a lot of things he wanted to finish up.”
“He is really happy that these kids are willing to help out around here since he can’t really do much right now.”
On Tuesday, the team of 11 youths and adults were either hammering away at the roof as the sun beamed down on their backs or were painting pieces of wood to go on the home.
The high temperatures didn’t seem to melt away the group’s energy and commitment to finishing their tasks.
“It’s nice to give to someone who needs it and appreciates it,” said Jordan Olson, a six-time attendee of the camp and Lydia native. “You can always see the work you’ve done."
“It makes you feel great.”
Chris Conley, Irmo resident and team lead on the project, said the group has been blessed to have a week off, to have some energy, and to have some tools and materials to give back to a deserving family.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Foundation --- a non-profit organization that raises money for deputies in need --- purchased the materials needed to repair the home.
For the past 35 years, the Salkehatchie Summer Service team has worked to provide safe, warm and dry environments for those in need.
“This is kind of your life — your home,” said Rhonda Gervais, one of the adult leaders on the site. “When your home starts crumbling around you and there’s nothing you can do about it, you just feel kind of lost in the world.”
“So we try to come in and provide the construction ability to make it safe then we try to provide love and compassion,” said Gervais, of Greenville.
“[We try to] show them the love of Christ in the work we do."
Ryan’s team of volunteers is one of several in the area taking the week to give back to the community.
In total, about 75 people are working to repair homes in the Irmo and Chapin areas.