May 4, 2017
Last Saturday, the Galilee Men celebrated “Christmas in April” by participating in Loudoun’s county-wide service project, Rebuilding Together. It may offer no carols or decorations, but “Christmas is April” is a real holiday for local homeowners. It is an annual festival of free home repair for worthy recipients, especially the elderly, the disabled, and low-income families with children.
Mike Tucker led Saturday’s project for Galilee, supported by a team that included Seth Campbell, Tim Frank, Ameet Shah, Andy Anderson, Jim Carroll, Amy Kuo, Tim Kuo, Jeff Appel, and Bruce Vibbert. The crew replaced a deck that was in bad shape for a retiree who recently lost his wife. In its place, they built a brand new surface that the homeowner can access safely.
The homeowner and his daughter share a smile with project leader Mike Tucker on a brand new, safe deck.
“Christmas in April” is a partnership between the non-profit Rebuilding Together and Loudoun County volunteers like the Galilee Men. The goal is to bring together a legion of “Santa’s helpers” on the last Saturday in April to ensure that Loudoun homeowners continue to live independently in dry, warm, and safe spaces.
“I like volunteering and helping others, especially when there is construction involved,” says Mike Tucker, whose spiritual gift is plainly to be found in hands-on service projects. “I really enjoy all of the volunteer opportunities that Galilee provides to help the community, near and far.”
Galilee Men stalwarts Mike Tucker and Tim Frank secure a supporting beam.
Mike and his family have been members of Galilee for about ten years. “We started attending when we moved near Leesburg and after we visited, we felt welcomed and part of the congregation.”
“My wife Sandi and I have been married 27 years and have two sons. I am a Civil Engineer and my wife is a high school Marketing teacher. We are a family of devoted Va Tech Hokies, with our older son graduating two years ago and our younger son with one year left.”
You can read a story about Mike and his son’s VT connection here.
When not celebrating Christmas, Matt and Sandi enjoy hiking in God’s grand creation.
“Helping others is where I find my connection,” says Mike. “I am a member of the church trustees and my wife has taught youth Sunday school. I’ve enjoyed my own repair projects at church and both of our sons constructed their Eagle Scout projects for Galilee. I am still active in our scout troop after stepping down as Scoutmaster several years ago.”
“I worked on a Christmas in April team at our previous church and when I mentioned it here, there was interest. So I took the initiative to involve the Galilee Men in the project both this year and last.”
Seth Campbell has volunteered more than enough times to earn his Galilee hat.
“This Saturday, we worked in the heat, rain and sun,” explains Mike. The only thing missing was Christmas snow. “We got a few bumps, scratches, and sunburn. I was splattered by a little mud and am feeling a bit achy, but the homeowner is most appreciative! Everyone worked very hard on the deck and Jim Carroll did a great job spreading mulch around the front of the house and sanding and painting the front porch railing.”
“We’re almost done,” Mike says. Almost—because Christmas isn’t over yet.
Andy Anderson and Ameet Shah dismantle some old steps.
“There is a bit of work left. There is fifteen feet of railing to be demolished and replaced, and a lattice to install. So we’re headed back this weekend.”
We want to extend a big THANK YOU to all who helped/are helping on this great project. You really put the “reason for the season” in Christmas in April.