Following two fire calls, conference presidents of UM Men and prayer advocates gather in front of two fire engines.

NASHVILLE, Tenn.––Conference Presidents of United Methodist Men and prayer advocates took time out from their Feb. 27-March 2 meeting to engage in three service projects.

Fifteen men took 30 copies of Strength for Service to God and Community to a Nashville fire station.

Kim Lawson, deputy chief for the Community Services Bureau of the Nashville Fire Department, told the group that there are 39 fire stations to cover 533 square miles, and firefighters are cross-trained as emergency medical technicians (EMT'S) and paramedics.

She said the each station is busy responding to all types of emergency situations; that point was clearly illustrated as both fire engines based at the station on West End Avenue were sent on calls during her presentation.

L.W. Smith, chair of the Strength for Service task force, told firefighters about the original book carried by U.S. troops during World War II, the subsequent reprinting of the book in 2000, and the 2012 release of the book for first responders.

A second 10-member group delivered Strength for Service books to “Operation Stand Down,” an agency that provides social services to veterans, including employment assistance, transitional housing, mail service and clothing. “We toured the facility and I was fascinated by how much work they did,” said Ken Tielke, president of the South Central Jurisdiction of UM Men.

A third group bagged 200 pounds of rice and 100 pounds of beans into one-pound bags for families of  the 662 students at Tusculum Elementary School. The students come from 23 different counties and 95 percent are on free and reduced lunch programs. Many of the children cannot speak English. The top six non-English languages are Spanish, Burmese, Nepali, Arabic and Kurdish. “You have made it so much easier for me to send food bags home to 100 families,” said Becky Hulse, family engagement specialist for the Nashville school. Two bags of rice, two bags of beans, six cans of vegetables and fruit, and two cans of chicken were sent to 100 homes prior to the spring break.


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