Greg Creighton (right) of Pfeifer Building Company and his friends at Pro Gutter Systems, with the financial backing of Legac
Love will inspire people to do some crazy things, like footing the bill to replace all of Southwest Christian Care’s gutters.
Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, hospice ministry Southwest Christian Care has for all of those decades been ministering to families as they say “goodbye” to their loved ones and release them into Eternity. While their ‘round-the-clock medical staff tend to their clients’ every comfort, the whole roster, staff and volunteers alike, also minister to survivors in this time of great need.
So it is perhaps not surprising that many of those survivors make it a part of their life’s mission to give back and take care of Southwest Christian Care in its time of need, too, even when that need is something as unglamorous as cleaning and fixing the roof drainage system.
Operations Manager Tammy Kinnett says the gutter situation was actually worse than they first thought. What the hospice staff did know was that the rain was starting to run down some of the windows. What they didn’t know was that the old gutters were allowing the rain to actually rot the wood and trim around the roof’s edge.
Kinnett called on ministry friend Greg Creighton of Pfeifer Building Company in Fayette County to patch the gutters here and there, but she says it was really “just putting a Band Aid” on the problem. Executive Director Mike Sorrow directed Kinnett to get a quote on fixing the whole drainage system. They would just have to pray for the resources to pay the bills.
Creighton’s connections to Southwest Christian care are many. On a personal level, his own father was scheduled to spend his last days in the hospice starting on a Monday morning several years ago. He never made it, though, passing away at home in the wee hours of that same day.
As a member of Legacy Christian Church in Senoia, Creighton, who serves on the missions committee, is a fellow congregant with many former members of Southwest Christian Church in Atlanta, which is the ministry that launched Southwest Christian Care back in 1983. Creighton, who enjoys talking of Jesus Christ’s love for himself and others, says Southwest Christian Care, which never charges the first penny for any of its services, is a true picture of that kind of sacrificial love.
Creighton followed through with the first part of Kinnett’s request. He reached out to Scott Covey and Hampton-based Pro Gutter Systems and asked for his best deal to help out Southwest Christian Care. As it turns out, Covey also has a soft spot in his heart for the hospice ministry. The wife of an old friend of his spent her last days on Earth under the roof of Southwest Christian Care. When Covey learned that the roof needed some attention, he sharpened his pencil and replied to Creighton with a generous service quote.
What happened next was one of many miracles that have dotted the landscape of the Southwest Christian Care ministry since the early days. Creighton took that service quote on a side track to his fellow Legacy Christian Church members, and they decided to foot the gutter bill themselves.
“Scott gave us a number, I took that number and gave it to the mission committee, and it got done,” Creighton said. Casting a glance at the crisp, new gutter line, he said, “This is a very special place.”
With all of the love that goes into keeping Southwest Christian Care in operation, again, it is perhaps no surprise that it would continue to be “a very special place.”
Kinnett invited Creighton, Covey and Covey’s co-workers Roney Velasquez and Mike Burke back to the hospice campus Tuesday morning for another “thank you” and to take their picture for the ministry newsletter. Waiting for Creighton to walk away for a moment, Kinnett then volunteered another Legacy Christian Church story.
Kinnett said the church also cleaned and painted the entire Hope House section of the ministry facility last year. Hope House is Southwest Christian Care’s division that offers respite care for families with children who have serious physical and mental needs.
Kinnett said she and other staff members discovered mold growing behind a patch of wallpaper in one of the Hope House rooms, and after further investigation Creighton was called to assess the situation. Creighton told the staff that all of the wallpaper had to be removed, and he recommended having all the walls thoroughly cleaned and painted.
Creighton also recommended that Legacy Christian Church’s missions committee foot the bill and provide the volunteer labor to get the job done. And that’s what happened.
These days, Southwest Christian Care is raising funds to better accommodate the third and newest spoke of their Union City-based ministry, the “Day Break” program, which ministers to people, mostly senior citizens, who suffer from cognitive illnesses such as Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia. What started in Southwest Christian Care’s lobby as a short day care fellowship has outgrown that space.
The ministry is now looking to build “Byron and Jim’s Place” on the same campus next to the hospice and Hope House building. The new building is being named for ministry founders, the late Dr. Byron F. Harper, Jr. and the late Dr. James W. Dyer, Jr.
Southwest Christian Care’s 21st Annual Benefit Dinner and Auction Gala, to be held Aug. 2 at the Georgia International Convention Center, is expected to represent another big step toward raising the $1.3 million to build Byron and Jim’s Place. Dr. Benjamin Carson, who served for a quarter century as director of pediatric neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, will be the guest speaker.
Carson has already proven to be a successful draw for gala tickets. Organizers say they’ve already sold more seats this year than were sold all of last year.
For more information about Southwest Christian Care and the upcoming gala, visit www.swchristiancare.org or call 770-969-8354.