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Great Day of Service helps local families, community
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Covington First United Methodist Senior Pastor Rev. Dr. Doug Gilreath starts the Great Day of Service with a prayer. - photo by Jackie Gutknecht

COVINGTON, Ga. - The Covington First United Methodist Church hosted its annual Great Day of Service Saturday in an effort to provide volunteer hours to the community. 

Covington City Councilwoman Susie Keck took the opportunity to partner the service day with some of the local needs she has seen through her role on the council. 

"I was elected to City Council and started my 4-year term in January 2018. Soon after the election,  I attended a meeting at the Washington Street community center where seniors had asked to meet with the mayor and council concerning their high utility bills, she said. "The City could not reduce their power bills. The City did offer to provide energy audits/inspections with recommendations to improve their power bills such as: Weather stripping, LED lightbulbs, insulation. etc.

"Most of the seniors who attended the meeting could not afford to make any improvements. Most are all living on fixed incomes and just need some help. Some have to decide between medicine or food, power or no power.   Things many of us never face."

Of the 39 residents who requested energy audits, Keck randomly selected four homes to start her initiative. Keck described the work completed, as the following: 

  • Renea Cabean needed an air conditioner repair.  She was thrilled to find out a company with such a great reputation was going to help her.  CFUMC volunteers, under the guidance of Hutter & Company's Ed Hutte,r also did repairs to a waterline and replaced light bulbs with LEDs. 
  • Thelma and Ray Nolley have not had any AC for more than three years. Thelma is an activist in her community. She is sometimes called the Mayor of the West Side.  She does her best to attend all the city council meetings and tries to be the voice for those who cannot attend due to their age or lack of transportation.  Thelma is always trying to help someone else. 
    Through the generosity of companies like ALLGOOD Heating and Air and Atlanta Fire and Restoration, Thelma and Ray Nolley  received a new air conditioning unit and repairs on the rotted siding on their house. The exterior of their home was painted by Five in One painting. CFUMC volunteers Keith and Terri Campbell helped prep the house.  Sherwin Williams donated the paint. 
    They also received  new carpet donated by Hardy Flooring,  new ceiling fans, LED lightbulbs, provide by Newton Electric and installed by Atlanta Fire and Restoration, new faucets in the bath and kitchen, provided by Mayfield Ace Hardware, and a new refrigerator  Southeastern Appliance. 
  • Bertha Benton needed repairs done to her roof,  soffit, ceiling and front door.  Mundy Residential headed up the repairs and painting.  The paint was donated by Mayfield Ace Hardware. 
  • Hutter and several CFUMC volunteers replace lightbulbs with LEDs and did weather stripping for Carolyn Williams' house too.
  • Great Estates Landscaping mowed and trimmed shrubs at all four  houses
  • Covington Fire Department checked and provided all of the homes with smoke detectors.

"This was my first go at trying to help improve our communities homes and it won’t be the last," Keck said. "My goal is to work with CFUMC and include all area churches and many more businesses so that we can have a 'Great week of Service' Summer 2019  and improve many more homes and our community.

"What I found out through this process of soliciting donations and volunteers everyone wants to help out in their own community they just don’t know how.

"God has blessed us with these opportunities and shown us it is true that it is better to give than receive."

In addition to improving the four homes, the CFUMC “Great Day of Service” volunteers planted flowers at several nursing homes, cleaned up some old family cemeteries gravestones and trimmed branches and weeds along Newton Trails.