Helping repair lives

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Bell County Fire partners with ASP and Clear Creek to restore homes.

The Appalachian Service Project has partnered with Clear Creek Baptist Bible College and the Bell County Volunteer Fire Department to help improve the lives of residents throughout the county.

ASP is a non-profit organization based in Johnson City, Tennessee, that does home repairs for low-income families in central Appalachia.

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“We now work in Virgina, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina, We have approximately 7,500 volunteers registered to show up to Central Appalachia this summer,” ASP Kentucky director Kristina Rowles said.

ASP had last hosted a home-repair program at CCBBC in 2007. Rowles contacted CCBBC director Ryan Martin about coming to Bell County and hosting their volunteers. ASP returned last summer and has signed a three-year agreement with the college. Clear Creek donated a parcel of land to the county on which BCVFD Station 4.

“We allow them to prepare their lunch meals in our kitchen area, and they facilitate out of the station their teams,” BCVFD chaplain Tim Mills said. “Where they’re going to their locations and working. We’re just excited to partner to aid Clear Creek, anytime we can do something that helps out community we’re all about it.”

Rowles said this is the first week the volunteers have worked, and they will continue to work for the next seven weeks.

With the home-repair program, ASP volunteers can help fix things such as ramps, porches, roofs and insulation, as well as help with utility bills.

“All of the projects we do are at no cost to the home owners,” Rowles said.

She said the work is dependent on the volunteer skill level they have within the groups. Their target clients are those that might not have received assistance from other programs or organizations.

“We’re really blessed that some of our funding is not super restrictive, and so that allows us to help meet some of those immediate needs,” Rowles said.

Martin said being able to help ASP has been very fulfilling.

“When Kristina called the Lord just showed me the vision and it just all started coming together,” he said. “I love being a help to not only the local church, but to the local people and these communities that’s in need.”

Although the organization is Christian based and is hosted by a Baptist college, APS services are available for anyone in need.

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