Thursday, April 5, 2007
Nomads return to share time, skills
By STEPHANIE WASHINGTON
True to their name, the NOMADS are a group of retired individuals with skills who travel to distant places only to lend a hand.
As an outreach ministry of the United Methodist Church, nomads volunteer their labor and time working on all sorts of projects such as remodeling, repair, reconstruction of camps, homes, churches and institutions.
Membership in NOMADS (Nomads on a Mission Active in Divine Service) is about 900 members worldwide. They are required to own a recreational vehicle (RV) in which they travel and reside, parked near their particular work site.
Currently serving at Rust College are three married couples, working on a project here in the Holly Springs area. Janet and Cliff Miller from Iowa are the group team leaders. Janet has been a nomad for 11 years and her husband Cliff, whom she met while on a NOMADS project several years ago, has been a nomad for six years.
“I had never heard of NOMADS until I met Janet and she asked me to join and then we married,” Cliff said.
Along with the Millers are John and Sally Gaiser from Indiana who have been nomads for eight years, as well as John and Judy Long also from Iowa, who are on their first year on a NOMADS project. The group will be in Holly Springs for three weeks and will complete the various projects within this period.
For each project, the nomads donate their labor while the host agency provides the tools and material they will need to get the job done. Nomads work six hours a day, four days a week, and they go sightseeing in their free time.
“During our free time we enjoy finding relaxing spots and enjoying the beautiful scenery that the cities have to offer,” Janet said.
According to Janet, she became interested in NOMADS through a neighbor when she purchased a camper vehicle. She was invited along on a trip to participate in a NOMADS project, she enjoyed it, and then decided to join. This is the fourth project this year for the group; they have done previous jobs in three different parts of Texas.
This, however, is the Millers’ second time around in Holly Springs. They came in 2000 with another group.
Don Manning-Miller, the vice president of finance at Rust College, commends the nomads’ efforts on campus. He said that they are of tremendous help in assisting on renovation and maintenance projects.
“When we are able to get the nomads to come in they usually bring skilled people with them such as carpenters, painters, and sometimes electrical personnel,” he said.
He said that the nomads on each occasion take on an ambitious project and make a major contribution to it.
(Editor’s Note: Jeff Jones, associate editor of The Rustorian, contributed to this story.)
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