People of Faith: June 1, 201206/01/2012
Townsend to coordinate Southwest District disaster responseBrad Townsend has been named disaster response coordinator for the Southwest District of the Arkansas Conference. He succeeds the Rev. Byron Mann, who with his wife, Janice, last year took on the role of Conference disaster response coordinator.
A member of Spring Hill UMC, south of Hope, Townsend describes himself as “always looking for ways to serve in the church and serve our Lord.” One of those opportunities to serve came through the Manns’ invitation to help build wheelchair ramps through a ministry known as Hands and Feet. As he got acquainted with them, Townsend began to learn more about the need for disaster response coordinators to be at the ready throughout the state.
He attended disaster response coordinator training at Mount Eagle Retreat Center in February before accepting this leadership position, and plans to continue taking advantage of additional training opportunities with the goal of being prepared for events that everyone hopes never happen.
“I really look forward to working with all of the people in the district, hopefully just in training,” he said. “I think we could all do without natural disasters!”
Townsend and his wife, Devonna, have two daughters and are expecting a son this summer.
Arkadelphia teen recognized for outstanding volunteer serviceAlexandria Hunter, a member of Manchester UMC Arkadelphia, was one of two Arkansas teens recognized at the 2012 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.
Alexandria, along with 101 other top youth volunteers from across the country, received $1,000 as well as personal congratulations from New York Giants quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning at the 17th annual award ceremony and gala dinner reception, held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
A member of the Clark County 4-H and an eighth-grader at Goza Middle School, Alexandria packages party supplies into “birthday bags” and distributes them to food pantries and a women and children’s shelter so that families with little or no money can still celebrate birthdays.
“During these times of financial distress, for many families, having a birthday party is just not in their budgets,” said Alexandria. “I wanted to help families celebrate together.”
Alexandria fills the birthday bags with enough supplies for six partygoers, including plates, napkins, candles, drink mix, cake mix, frosting, candy and other treats. She enlisted the help of her 4-H club in assembling her first five bags, and then spoke to community groups and Manchester UMC about her project. As a result of sharing her idea with others, she has received numerous donations of money and supplies, and so far has donated enough bags to ensure that the birthdays of 35 individuals do not pass uncelebrated.
“It is amazing how easily even a young person can make a difference,” said Alexandria.
“No matter how small my project is, the effect it can have on just one person can be huge.”