By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
JEFFERSON CITY — Last year George and Margaret Bradley spent their sixth summer at Carson-Newman University coordinating volunteer missions teams. At the end of the summer they thought they were through. Not so fast.
The Bradleys, members of First Baptist Church, Greeneville, were contacted by C-N officials once again to see if they would serve yet another year, but on a much smaller scale. Instead of the typical two to three months they’ve served over the last six years, only two weeks were needed this year.
“We couldn’t face a summer without coming to Carson-Newman,” laughed Margaret Bradley. “We love coming here,” her husband agreed.
Over the past six years the retired couple has become a fixture on the Jefferson City campus. During that time volunteer teams have provided more than $1 million in free labor for a variety of projects under the auspices of Baptist Builders. George Bradley estimated they have worked on nearly every building on campus and helped renovate most every dormitory.
“Everything they’ve done transforms the campus,” said Ondes Webster, C-N’s physical plant director and construction manager. “Everything they do are things we seem to never accomplish,” he said.
The work performed by the volunteers “is directed to helping our students in some way,” Webster continued. It is especially significant because the volunteers do things the school would normally have to pay someone to do. “A lot of the work they do is usually excruciating labor, things that people don’t want to do,” he said. The volunteers do it “gladly and happily.”
This year, a team from Wallace Memorial Baptist Church, Knoxville, came and painted all the handrails on campus. It was the sixth trip to Carson-Newman for the Wallace Memorial team.
The Bradleys have come to enjoy the camaraderie with the volunteers, many of whom have come to the campus year after year. The volunteers are like old friends, said Margaret Bradley. “We work hard but we have a great time.”
George Bradley observed that the volunteers are easy to manage. “I tell them what needs to be done and they do it, often coming up with a better way,” he said.
Webster is grateful for the supervision given by the Bradleys and the work done by the volunteer teams. “God does His work through these people,” he observed.