Carroll woman brings hope to Sioux reservation


August 08, 1996|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

LAUREL BROWN was half a country away from her home in Taneytown.

She stood on a ladder on a hot, picture-perfect July day, painting a sign that read "Golden Age Senior Center."

From below, she heard the soft singing of a Sioux as he chanted to the four directions of the Earth to start the wind.

Wind would make the heat more bearable for Brown and her 35 colleagues, who had driven to a Lakota Sioux reservation in Fort Thompson, S.D., as part of Volunteers in Mission, an outreach program of the United Methodist Church.

It was a poignant moment for Brown, who spends her summer vacations in work camps with other adults who try to make a difference to people in need.

During the week in Fort Thompson, a small town near the Missouri River in central South Dakota, Brown and other volunteers built a two-car garage, refurbished a kitchen, wired a house and did other work at a recreation and senior center.

"The sense of hopelessness with that group of Indians is very strong," said Brown, who works for Carroll's Department of Human Services. "Depression is widespread. We wanted to show them that somebody cared."

One project at the reservation is the maintenance of a recreation center. The center has no running water and very few supplies.

But it's where the reservation's children go for lunches because they get no lunch at home. It's also where they go after school for activities, socializing and to listen to stories. One afternoon when Brown and her friends stopped their labors to read, the children were so enthralled with the stories that they skipped lunch that day.

What motivates Brown to spend her summer breaks this way?

"We're all so lucky -- we have so much. Anything we did was most appreciated," she said. "They thanked us much more than was necessary."

Brown's church, Reisterstown United Methodist, has a wish list for the Lakota Sioux. Children's books and school supplies are high priorities. To help, call 833-5440.

Anyone can participate in Volunteers in Mission.

Another outreach project

Brown's husband, Wally, spent his week off with teen-agers at the Shenandoah Valley Outreach Project. The group of 32 youths and eight adults spent its days fixing homes around Staunton, Va., and their nights at the church camp in nearby Mint Springs.

"It's a meaningful, deep experience for the kids," Wally said.

In one fast week, the teens completed 11 jobs, round-robin fashion. Everyone did part of every project, from scraping and painting a large old Victorian house to caulking and replacing storm windows.

"Not only did the kids help someone but they learned how to do the jobs," Wally said.

As a reward for their efforts, an ice cream social was held at the end of the camp. They ate an ice cream sundae from a 10-foot piece of gutter crafted to look like a banana split, a fitting ending for a week of home repairs.

Annual peach festival

One of the high points of August is the annual peach festival at Pipe Creek Church of the Brethren. It's being held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday at the church on Linwood Road.

It has become the kind of event that people return to year after year and come from far beyond Carroll to attend. The appeal is its unpretentious, home-grown, from-the-heart flavor. All of the church's 75 members participate in some fashion, including lining up vendors for the craft tables and peeling and slicing peaches for ice cream desserts.

Sampling fried chicken platters to face painting and wagon rides to gospel music, craft tables and a petting zoo, festival goers should enjoy the day in one of the prettiest spots in the county.

A quilt auction will feature a quilt by church member Ruth Carr. Proceeds from the auction and the event benefit the work of Pipe Creek Church.

Information: 775-7343.

Offices replace carwash

If you're wondering what happened to the old Taneytown carwash at 461 E. Baltimore St., it has been replaced with a sparkling new office building that houses four businesses. They are New York Life, J. R. LeFaivre Construction Co., Desert Sun Tanning and Virginia's Hair Trend.

On the last day of July, in a perfectly timed break from the rain, Mayor W. Robert Flickinger cut a ribbon to celebrate Taneytown's newest enterprise.

The festivities continued with a tour of the businesses and lunch.

"We closed a community service," said owner Joyce Barnes, "but brought four new businesses into town, which is good for growth."

Judy Reilly's Northwest Carroll neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

Pub Date: 8/08/96

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