Southport’s Judy and Paul Selke and Janet and Jim Jensen celebrate 50 years of marriage – times two
By Nicole Davis
Judy and Paul Selke have shared a lot of memories with Janet and Jim Jensen through the last 50 years: from the day Paul and Jim married their brides, identical twin sisters Judy and Janet, with a double wedding on May 25, 1963 to now celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries.
“Everybody I talk to says how exciting to make it through 50 years,” Judy said. “Everybody thinks it’s unique since we’re all still here. Most of the wedding party is still here.”
The two couples met when they all began working at Eli Lilly in 1957, where the men retired in 1993. When Paul and his fiancé Judy heard that Janet and Jim wanted to get married too, they decided to say their nuptials together in a double wedding. The women said it was cheaper for their dad – both in one shot.
“They’re good guys,” Janet said. “We’re lucky to have found them. I guess it was fate.”
Married at Broadway Methodist, they said it was the first double wedding their pastor had performed. Judy and Janet, age 23, dressed alike in identical dresses and headpieces. During the rehearsal, their father practiced walking down the aisle in between his daughters but during the wedding day, the dresses were too big and he couldn’t fit. Walking behind them, relatives joked that it looked as though he were pushing the sisters down the aisle.
“It just doesn’t seem like it’s been 50 years,” Judy said, as she flipped through her wedding photo album. To which Janet quipped, with a laugh, “… and then other days, yeah, it does.”
After the wedding, the couples took a honeymoon to Gatlinburg, Tenn., separately. They had their first children a year a part to the day and settled in homes less than three miles from each other in Southport. Judy and Paul have three children while Janet and Jim have two. Each couple has five grandchildren.
“We’re not just relatives, we’re friends,” Janet said. “We’ve been blessed for 50 years with healthy children, grandchildren. We’ve had a good run.”
The couples have taken many vacations together. They have attended the same church for 46 years. Paul said they all have similar interests, which makes maintaining the friendships easy. While Judy and Janet go out for lunch and shopping every Friday –for what they call “our day” – and most Wednesdays, Paul and Jim will often be spotted together too, often at the auction. Laughter and teasing jokes coming from all four when they are together show just how close they have grown and remained.
“We’ve never really tried at this. It’s just come naturally,” Judy said. “We’ve just taken what’s come along. We just take it one day at a time.”
Celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with their family and close friends, the couples said they just plan to take each day as it comes: as they have done every day for the last 50 years.
“We just enjoy every day,” Paul said. “We’re waiting for 75 years. You can stand 25 more? (He asks Judy) We don’t have any bit plans, just whatever comes along.”
A word of advice…
Married for 50 years and remaining friends, Janet and Jim Jensen and Judy and Paul Selke said they don’t feel they had to work to maintain their relationships.
“We’re just like everybody else,” Janet said. “We’ve had our ups and downs.”
Though their uniqueness of having a double wedding and sharing their anniversary has had their friends ask them how they’ve managed to do it. Here is some advice from two couples who have maintained 50 years of friendships and family:
Janet -“You’re going to have arguments, get over them.”
– “Jim and I went to a dinner. We were asked how we have been married so long. I (jokingly) said ‘I let him have his way.’ He then laughed, ‘I like to have my way.’”
Jim-“We have had good role models… We’re also tried to bring out kids up the way we were brought up.”
Judy – “Just treat each other with care. Treat them as you want to be treated. It’s worked.”
- “You are going to be mad but you’ll get over that. We haven’t had to work at it.”
- “We’ve always teased each other. There is a lot of laughter.”
Paul – “Forgive and forget.”
Southside residents and families recognize Friendship Healthcare with award from Indiana governor
By Nicole Davis
Irene Gulley has not missed visiting her mother a day since she was diagnosed with dementia five years ago. Having to transfer her mother to five different nursing facilities, Gulley said in 2011 she finally found a place that makes her mother, and now sister, feels comfortable and happy to reside. That’s why she worked to get Friendship Healthcare recognized by Governor Mike Pence and his office. On May 13, owner Shirley Arnold was presented with a signed photo from Pence and a plaque for recognition of quality and outstanding care.
“You know how you leave a relative in a place, you’re uncomfortable; sometimes you can’t sleep at night? I don’t feel that way here,” Gulley said. “It amazes me how different they are from other facilities. They have a great team. They just go above and beyond.”
Gulley, who works for the state, said she has been impressed with how the nurses never forget a resident’s birthday and even bring them little gifts. She said even Southern Care Hospice has had some of the friendliest staff she has encountered. The award presentation was organized as a surprise for Arnold, for the residents to share in their appreciation of the “outstanding” care. Staff and residents participated in a pizza party in celebration.
“I’m just overwhelmed,” Arnold said. “The gratitude is so precious. The facility has been through a lot. I’m just very proud of this staff that has done a wonderful job and understand what my personal mission is in caring for these folks.”
Arnold began as a director of nursing with Friendship Healthcare in 1999 after working with children. She said geriatrics was a better fit for her. In 2002 she took ownership, leasing the facility which was later ripped down by a tornado in 2004. Eventually rebuilding it, Arnold said she want to create a home-like atmosphere for the highest quality of care possible for the 53-bed facility, located at 2630 S. Keystone Ave., Indianapolis.
“I’m glad that somebody’s recognized our facility and our staff that works hard,” said Lauren Pratt, marketing director and one of Arnold’s daughters. “Being so small, not too many people notice us but inside we’re a big family. We’re family owned, not a corporation. I can’t stress enough that we really treat our residents like they’re our own family… I’m really proud of my mom for all the hard work she’s done.”
With a goal of transforming the one-star facility into a five star, Arnold said she just appreciates some of the great people she has encountered through the years. With echoes of agreement that the facility offers “treatment like family” throughout the cafeteria as Arnold was presented the award, Gulley said nothing can be said to truly show all of the little things the nurses and staff do that make the facility worth the recognition.
“I can’t do enough to show my appreciation,” Gulley said. “They make everybody feel like they’re family and friends. Their name suits them.”
Beech Grove senior Jonathan Hicks advances to college baseball with goals of playing in the Major Leagues
By Nicole Davis
Jonathan Hicks has played baseball since he was five, participating in t-ball at Christian Park. Through the years he has worked to develop his pitching skills, playing in travel leagues and on the Beech Grove High School team. On May 7, he signed his “Early Decision” to continue playing with Earlham College in Richmond, Ind. after he graduates from Beech Grove this spring.
“To me, it’s the best sport there is,” Hicks said. “I’ve always prided myself on being top pitcher, the best pitcher for my team. When I’m pitching, I feel like I’m controlling the whole game.”
Though Hicks said this year’s baseball season at Beech Grove has started out slow, he hopes that it will pick up like last year – when they won their sectionals for the first time since 2005.
“Playing here and being able to help change the program was a big accomplishment for me and my team,” Hicks said. “Last year we won sectionals; that was my best moment. I pitched all 10 innings. We had our first winning season in years.”
He will attend Earlham to major in electrical engineering. Though he said he’s nervous for his freshman year of college, he’s excited for the promising future ahead of him. He said the coaches at Earlham began showing interest in him two years ago. Since then Hicks has went on two overnight trips to visit the college and meet his future teammates and said he had a great time.
“It means a lot that I get to continue playing after high school,” Hicks said. “I can play baseball and get a really good education too. It’s another step towards my major goal of playing professional ball.”
Hicks says he has had great family support which has helped him make it this far. His father, Glenn Hicks, enrolled him in travel ball at age 10 and took the role of being his son’s personal coach. Hicks said he’s play 60 games a year, improving on his abilities. His family has attended every game they came – whether it’s at home or away. Through the years, Hicks has attended many camps, throwing 81 mph at a University of Indianapolis Camp in 2011. Aiming to continue improving, Hicks said he wants pursue a career in the Major Leagues, and has always wanted to play with the Cardinals – since Indiana doesn’t have a Major League team.
“I just want to prove how good of a player I am, when I get the chance,” Hicks said. “I want to build on the velocity of my pitching ability when I get to play.”
Franklin Township entertainer Steve Jeffris continues to grow his career with Jeffris Junction
By Nicole Davis
When he’s not playing music, Steve Jeffris spends a lot of time on his Franklin Township back porch. For more than 35 years, the entertainer has worked not only to evolve his career with 29 albums, two more releasing this summer, and a more than 650 member fan club, but to also create a backyard worthy of admiration. Jeffris Junction, also the name of his fan club, features a western-style rail yard with a 1906 Caboose he converted into a mini museum, a jail, train depot and more.
“To me, I don’t feel like I’ve done anything different, but other musicians can’t figure out how I keep booked as heavily as I do and make a living out of it,” Jeffris said. “Most people that do this kind of thing, they can’t make a living out of it. We’re not rich, but it’s been a good deal for us.”
Jeffris plays mostly as a solo act, with a performance, or two, booked nearly every day. He began playing when he was 13 and received his first guitar for Christmas. He learned to play one song and performed it for some friends. He jokes that the girls took notice, so what a better incentive to learn to play more? As he improved his playing, he dreamed of going to Nashville, Tenn. and becoming a big star. Those dreams changed. While in Nashville, he said he was told if he couldn’t make it in his own home town, he couldn’t make it at all. Growing up on the Southside, Jeffris has made it in his hometown and plays locally multiple times every week – Mondays at Harry C’s, 6-9 p.m. at 5055 S. Dearborn, Indianapolis; and Wednesdays at Moose Lodge #17, 6-9 p.m. at 7055 E. 16th St., Indianapolis; along with other regularly scheduled performances.
“A lot of people that said you can’t do this,” Jeffris said. “Well I proved them wrong. I just had to do it my own way. We’ve thought outside the box and it worked. I’ve been blessed.”
With a growing fan base, Jeffris said he created Jeffris Junction to give back to those who supported his growth. He wanted to create a space to host events for the fans. He hosts a free Caboose Festival picnic for his fans every September; this year it will be Sept. 15.
“I probably have the largest fan club of a regional act, that’s active,” Jeffris said. “These folks will come and see you and become part of an extended family.”
Jeffris’ backyard junction began with one caboose. While unwinding after a show one evening at a Southside bar in 1990, he joined a random discussion about what everyone would like to have in their backyard. When Jeffris said he’d like a railroad caboose, the waitress said she knew where he could get one. When he purchased it, he said it was very torn up. He restored it and converted it into a small museum of railroad and country music memorabilia. From there, Jeffris Junction evolved. With help from friends and his fan club members, Jeffris built each additional building on his property – the jail, depot and even a pioneer-style cabin which he said he wife and grandchildren spend a lot of time in, reading and having sleepovers.
“We’ve kind of kept this under radar,” Jeffris said. “It’s probably one of the best kept secrets around. Folks in the fan club really enjoy themselves out here.”
Playing his music full-time, Jeffris said allows him to enjoy life and the little things other musicians may not have time for – like mowing his lawn and sitting on his porch overlooking all the structures he built. He said his biggest challenge is performing independently and managing himself. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. Last year he performed for the Daytona Speedway; the same year Kenny Rogers and Reba Mcintire performed. Being in the right place at the right time was the only reason he said he got the gig.
“I don’t think I’ll ever stop performing,” Jeffris said. “I really enjoy it that much. I will always continue to perform better, looking to cover more areas. I haven’t played around the world, but I have met a lot of good people and had friendships that you can’t put a price on.”
For more information on Jeffris, his fan club and music, visit SteveJeffris.com.
Getting to know Steve Jeffris
-I love antiques and history and so does my wife. I like to take old things apart and put them back together in working condition.
-I love all kinds of music. I really appreciate someone that can entertain an audience. I am studying all the time great entertainers and their performances – the art of entertainment.
-My wife and I like Route 66. Arizona is our favorite place to go.
-My fans have allowed us to enjoy a dream. And that dream was to entertain folks for all of these years.
Beech Grove Education Foundation carries on memory of deceased teacher with 17-year-old fund
By Nicole Davis
Seventeen years have passed, but the memory of Julie Sambol has carried on at South Grove Intermediate School. A reminder of a close friend, Dean of Students Jina Hackman keeps a photograph of Sambol posted beside her desk. A fund through the Beech Grove Education Foundation in Sambol’s name continues to benefit teachers at the school, funding little projects and needed items for teachers and students.
“She was really outspoken and passionate about education,” Hackman said. “She would be so grateful and proud to still be helping children.”
As an elementary student, Sambol struggled with reading. A teacher helped her improve those skills which encouraged her to go into teaching herself. Sambol taught at South Grove for six years, her classroom located next door to her college friend, Hackman.
A devoted fan of football and her family, Sambol would attend every game that her father, Al Harrants, would coach as head coach at North Central High School. While traveling on a school-sponsored motorcoach to Jeffersonville, Ind. on Oct. 13, 1996 for a game, the bus tipped over at the exit at Rural and Keystone. Sambol, who was six months pregnant, and a third grader were ejected through some open rooftop windows and were killed instantly. Julie was sitting next to her Mom, who was uninjured. A classroom assistant at the time, Stacy Johnson, who continues as a staff member at South Grove today, took over as the teacher for Julie’s class. The staff and students of Julie’s class did a balloon release in her memory, with students able to write their thoughts down about Julie and send them to the sky in the balloons.
Two weeping cherry trees were planted in front of South Grove in Julie’s memory, which still stand in front of the main entrance. The Beech Grove Education Foundation started shortly after Sambol’s death and began its first employee fundraising drive, with teachers pledging payroll deductions. Some teachers at South Grove asked about pledging money in someone’s name. Hackman said honoring Sambol seemed to bring in more money for the South Grove.
“I remind the staff that the money you put in will stay here at SouthGrove,” Hackman said. “The money goes back to us. It will be here long after I’m gone and I’ve been here 24 years.”
That drive is still held every year, with outside contributions accepted for the fund. Each year the school receives a check for around $1,300. The money is used for items that teachers may need to improve the classroom experience. It has been used for a lot of books, a picnic table, science supplies, maps, awards for students and many other things. This year it will pay $75 for a student to go to summer camp.
“It’s not a lot,” Hackman said. “But it’s just that little perk for a teacher they don’t have to take the money out of their pocket.”
Beech Grove Girl Scouts dig up tombstones from 1800s in highly vandalized cemetery
By Nicole Davis
Since 1945, Methodist Chapel Cemetery has been vandalized to the point that few tombstones stand above ground. The Beech Grove Girl Scouts have made it their mission this spring and summer to fix the problem, as part of their project to earn their bronze award. Digging up tombstones dated in the 1800s, 16 girls from Girl Scout Troop 2393 uncovered nine tombstones and 13 bases the first Saturday they worked.
“Since 1945 somebody has kicked over everything here, practically,” said Bob Alloway of the Beech Grove Historical Society. “This cemetery is probably the most vandalized cemetery I’ve ever seen. This is bringing the history back.”
The cemetery is part of the Methodist Wesley Chapel which was organized in 1838 by members of five families and closed in the 1880s. Those buried in the cemetery were members of the church, and pioneers of the city, Alloway said. It is located on Churchman Avenue, behind the Beech Grove Administration building and across from the now demolished Churchman home.
“I think most people in Beech Grove don’t even know this is here,” said Teresa Lamb, mother.
Since the cemetery was abandoned, the Girl Scouts and Beech Grove Historical Society had to get permission to complete the work from the Franklin Township trustee. Before the girls did any work, Isabella Foster, Girl Scout, said they had to have about six meetings on the proper way to find the tombstones, dig them up, clean them and glue them back together. The girls have to complete 20 hours and inform the public to earn their Bronze. They are creating infomercials on proper cemetery care that will be linked on the Beech Grove, Our Town Facebook page.
“This is our first big project,” said Rebecca Lamb, Girl Scout. “I like coming here and working with people. We’re probably going to get more than 20 houses because there is so much work to do.”
Rebecca said they all got to vote on what project they wanted to do. The cemetery was their second choice, but Lamb said they are all very excited with what they have achieved so far and look forward to knowing how many tombstones they find. Alloway said in 1945 a registry was created with names of people buried in the cemetery. The earliest burial listed was 1848 and latest was 1909. The girls have already found tombstones that were not on that registry, meaning those were likely buried before 1945. The earliest burial they have found is 1850.
“I like getting dirty and trying to uncover the history of the people that were here,” Foster said. “People have come and knocked down the headstones. So we’re working to restore it. There is just so much here.”
Additional members of the Beech Grove Historical Society are also signed up to take training on restoring tombstones at a May 17 workshop. When Troop 2393 has fulfilled the requirements to earn their bronze, another troop, 2392, will take their place and finish the work. Alloway said the Historical Society and the girls have already began thinking of additional ways to improve the half-acre cemetery once the tombstones are repaired, including raising money to construct a better fence and to place some park benches inside. Alloway said with a view overlooking Amtrak, the park benches would be a nice addition to the city.
“After we’re done, we will probably come and make sure it’s still clean,” Rebecca said. “It’s just so much fun.”
Beech Grove Annual Art Exhibit features creativity of the next generation
By Nicole Davis
Beech Grove students have been hard at work all year creating art projects and preparing them for the community to see. More than 500 pieces of student art work, an assortment from each project from all of the schools, will be featured at the Beech Grove City Schools Annual Art Exhibit on Wednesday, May 8, 4:30 – 8 p.m. at Hornet Park Community Center.
“It’s definitely progressed into a nice collection of student work,” said Carey Tingle, middle school art teacher. “It’s not often you get to see this from the whole schools; to see the progression from different ages is really neat. And it’s always a huge success.”
The event, sponsored by the Beech Grove Education Foundation (BGEF), is organized by the art teachers at each school. Teachers choose the best work from each project the students complete throughout the year to feature in the show. The show is juried and recognizes multiple grand prize places. The BGEF will frame each piece for a year-long display at the school.
“We believe that art motivates and engages children in learning and provides a creative avenue for building competence and confidence,” wrote Melody Stevens, executive director of the BGEF. “Many child development specialists note that “play is work for a child” and the arts are a wonderful and natural vehicle for play. The Beech Grove Education Foundation is proud to support the arts and the District Art Show in Beech Grove City Schools, as it provides the opportunity to showcase the budding and refined talents of our students and engage our community in a celebration of the arts.”
With various forms of art features, Tingle said there should be something for everyone. She said she finds the high school stained glass art interesting because not many schools offer that instruction anymore.
Jonee Sutton, art teacher for Hornet Park Elementary and Central Elementary said she loves seeing the excitement in the students when they show their parents their work on display, but also when they are chosen as a prize winner. With her more than 800 students creating a new project every couple of weeks, she says choosing the best work can be difficult. This year, she also created a gifted and talented program and challenged some students with their creative skills. She said it’s amazing to see the talent that comes from these smaller schools.
“(The show is) good for their self-esteem,” Sutton said. “It’s empowering to see that their artwork and what they express is valuable. If you show when what they’re doing is important it will encourage them to shoot to succeed in the future. I think it’s important to show the success of the next generation, for us to know as a community that we’re creating well-rounded students.”
Franklin Township Education Foundation’s 5K Run/Walk to bring community together
By Nicole Davis
Franklin Township is gearing up for race day. The annual Fast Flash 5K Run/Walk and 2K Fun Run/Walk will take place Saturday, May 11 beginning at 8 a.m. Benefitting the Franklin Township Education Foundation (FTEF) , the event has been planned down to the last detail, to accommodate families of all ages and fitness levels.
“For a community run, it’s as professional as it’s going to get,” said Eric Kellison, event planner and social studies teacher. “All the little things are done that you sometimes take for granted; things that don’t always happen. The roads are blocked off, there are refreshments…”
The annual race began in 1992. Kellison, along with Ken Swank, organized it as a fundraiser for the cross country programs. The FTEF took over the event approximately five years ago, and Kellison said it has grown substantially since then. This is the first of two large fundraisers that the FTEF hosts each year.
Last year’s event brought in approximately 750 participants and Kellison said the Fast Flash committee is still hoping to grow that by 10 percent each year. Cost of the run/walk is $20 on the day of registration. Visit iwant2run.com to register online or download the form at myftef.org.
“It’s just a great family fun day,” Kellison said. “I don’t think anybody leaves not happy.”
Kellison said the run/walk event has a history of bringing the community together. Two years ago with some failed referendums that caused tension between the schools and community, everyone still gathered for the 5K. He says the event demonstrated the support within the community even in a time when, for some, it may not have felt like it beforehand.
“The focus of the event is on the community,” Kellison said. “The money is going right back within the school. I think the unique thing is that the majority of the people out there live and work in Franklin Township. You will know most of the people running in the race.”
Fast Flash 5K Run/Walk
When: May 11, 6:30 – 7:45 a.m. registration
8 a.m. start, 9 a.m. awards ceremony
Where: Franklin Central High School
6215 S. Franklin Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46259
Judy Allman celebrates 30 years of the Southside’s Precious Moments Club
By Nicole Davis
More than 1,800 Precious Moments figurines are displayed throughout Judy Allman’s Perry Township home. President and charter member of the Precious Moment club sponsored by Sarah’s Hallmark in Greenwood, Allman says her collection carries along a lot of meaning – from the inspirational titles to the memories certain figurines bring back.
“There’s one in particular, Make a Joyful Noise,” Allman said. “I’ve always stayed positive and happy and loved it because of the title. Not all mean something in particular, some do. It’s just a hobby. Now what I paid $30 for 20 years ago you can buy for $7. But I didn’t get into it (to make money).”
Her first figurine was given to her as a joke. In 1979, her husband presented her a Precious Moment that was a little girl with a frying pan titled Eggs Over Easy, since Allman couldn’t cook eggs well. “Some joke,” she said. After receiving the gift, she started working at a Hallmark store to learn more about the figurines. Though she only worked there a year, she was inspired by the positivity that came along with the titles, usually listed on the bottom of each figure.
“It’s a lasting memory for adoption, new baby, military, occupation, pets and bereavement,” Allman said. “There’s always something for an occasion you can find. It’s memories.”
With such a large collection of figurines, buttons, cards and other momentums, Allman said she is a bit more selective on what to bring home and hasn’t purchased quite so much the last five years. Previously displaying the items in her bedroom, Allman said when she began living at her current residence; she figured the collection should be out where it can be appreciated. A display cabinet from wall-to-wall and up the ceiling holds the majority of the figurines organized by seasons in her living room.
The Precious Moments brand will celebrate its 35th anniversary this year and Allman said she does plan to purchase that commemorative figurine. As part of the celebration, she said she will attend the annual national convention at the Precious Moments Chapel in Missouri in June. Creator Sam J. Butcher designed the chapel and hand painted dozens of murals throughout it. The convention, which used to host 1,000 collectors, now has 400 in attendance. Allman said she has made many friends through the years at this convention, and it’s become more of a reunion for her.
The Southside-based club first began in 1983 and will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. Allman said when Nikki’s Hallmark in Zionsville, which is no longer in business, had it’s open house, some collectors were standing around the Precious Moments and discussed opening a club. They held their first meeting February 1983. Sarah’s Hallmark on Fry Road in Greenwood, across from the mall, currently sponsors the quarterly meetings.
“That’s my pride and joy,” Allman said. “We just talk about Precious Moments and our charity work. We just have a really good group of people that do a lot of volunteer work.”
Though a large part of the club is discussing new figurines and where to purchase the merchandise, Allman said a main focus is charity work. Throughout the years they have collected pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House, used books for the USO out of the airport and filled Easter baskets with toys for orphanages. At the next meeting, to be held May 6, 7 p.m. at the Southside Church of the Nazarene, 2447 E. Thompson Rd., the group will collect items for women’s shelters. In August, when they will officially celebrate 30 years, they will host a Back to School drive.
“Collecting is fun, but to me now it’s the charity work,” Allman said. “That’s the rewarding part of this whole group. Since I’ve retired, I can enjoy it more.”
Sampling of Judy Allman’s favorite figurines
Heather and Hannah Reid host car wash in Greenwood to help send them on a Global Expedition
By Nicole Davis
Heather and Hannah Reid will board a plane this June in an overseas trip to an impoverished country of their choice. As teenagers, getting off of a plane in a foreign country without personally knowing anyone would typically be unheard of – but this is the sisters’ fourth community service trip through the group Global Expeditions.
“We get to pick where we go,” Heather said. “We made our decisions separate. It’s more of a separate thing we do together. One of the reasons I chose Nepal is they are helping girls rescued from human trafficking. They gave some statistics that said 7/10 girls in that will be HIV positive and die before age 25.”
With the trip a long way off, it’s fundraising time. Heather and Hannah will host a car wash fundraiser to cover the initial $6,500 combined cost of the trip on April 27, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Donatos Pizza, 2260 S. US Hwy. 31, Greenwood. When the Reid family heard of the Donatos location which allows groups to use their parking lot free-of-charge they knew it was the place to start. The wash will be free, with free-will donations accepted.
“That’s what amazed me about this community,” said Mike Reid, the girls’ father. “We decided on a Thursday to raise this money. The next day we had people saying they’d help donate to this trip.”
Global Expeditions is a nonprofit which hosts a Teen Mania Ministries’ in an effort to provoke the young generation to pursue Christ and take his message around the globe. They help organize these trips, which bring in youth of varying ages to 35 different locations. Each trip is based on physical and mental difficulties, and participants choose where they want to go.
Heather, a Whiteland junior, will travel to Nepal to work with a rescue center that aids women who have just been freed from slavery. Hannah, an 8th grader at Clark-Pleasant Middle School, will live in an impoverished rural village in Panama helping residents and schools.
Both girls said the friendships they have made over the years are the best part of going on these trips. Heather said she is still in touch with participants she met when she began in 2009. Hannah, who went to Mexico last year, said the memories she can bring back make it worth it – like handing over the keys to the house they build for a family there.
“Another thing I think has an impact is day-to-day life, telling people about these trips,” Hannah said. ‘They think, you went to another country by yourself? Well, I wasn’t by myself. Every step of it, there is someone making sure I’m taken care of. I think that encourages people – just being courageous. I’m going to a country to show love. It’s nothing to fear.”
The Reid family recently moved to the Southside from Texas, the state where Global Expeditions is headquartered. They will fly into the Texas headquarters together, where they will then be flown to their selected countries. When they return, the Reid family will spend a week doing another mission trip in Texas then take a vacation after weeks of work.
“I honestly think these trips have not only broadened their view of the world but they’ve come back not just different, but better,” said Becky Reid, the girls’ mother. “They are enlivened and ready for action.”