About 200 college students turned out on a recent Saturday morning to fan out across the community for a day of service in helping 11 local non-profit agencies.
Brothers from the Eta Zeta Chapter of Sigma Chi, along with sorority volunteers from Zeta Tau Alpha, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Delta Pi, Phi Mu, Kappa Delta and Chi Omega chapters, chose to spend a weekend day giving back to the community that has welcomed and served them during their time at Georgia Southern University.
The service day was the brainchild of Statesboro native and university student John Daniel Brannen, who is the community service chair for Sigma Chi.
“The idea just popped into my head one day,” Brannen said. “I wanted to give back to the community, to do stuff that might not get done.
“The image of sororities and fraternities can be confusing. I wanted to do something to make a positive image for us.”
The sophomore construction management major enlisted the help of his fraternity brothers, sorority members, Statesboro Sigma Chi alumni and leaders in the non-profit community.
Students gathered at the Sigma Chi house on campus for prayer and instructions on the day of service, and then headed out to complete various pre-arranged projects.
Men and women helped out at:
· Fostering Bulloch, sorting clothes and organizing the warehouse.
· Broken Shackle Ranch, helping with cabin construction.
· Open Hearts Community Mission, pressure washing the outside of the building and cleaning windows.
· Statesboro First United Methodist Church Soup Kitchen, delivering 200 meals to The Summit apartments.
· The Blue Mile, cleaning lots and distributing flyers.
· Connection Church, assisting with yardwork and painting for a single mom in the community.
· Langston Chapel Elementary School, packing backpacks.
· Safe Haven Women’s Shelter, cleaning gutters and removing trees.
· Pineland Mental Health Service’s John’s Place Crisis Stabilization Center, painting.
· The Teal House, assisting with yardwork and painting.
· The Boys and Girls Club, removing holly bushes around the building.
The timeless proverb “many hands make light work” rang true as much was accomplished in the hours spent serving the community that day.
Grateful for the work
Delia Mobley, Open Hearts Community Mission board chair, was grateful for the work that took place at Statesboro’s homeless shelter.
“How fortunate we are to have such a fine group of young people wanting to get out and serve others,” Mobley said. “Our building looks fantastic after the pressure washing and window cleaning. It makes a difference when you have volunteers that know how to jump in and get it done.”
A note written to the volunteers from a recipient of yardwork and painting said, “It was a blessing to have young people willing to take time out of their weekend to help a single mom do things around the house that she couldn’t do.”
Lakeidra Grant, director of The Teal House, the sexual assault and children advocacy center, spoke highly of the workers at her site.
“Such humble spirits. Willing to assist with whatever we needed. And even asked to keep in contact, volunteering to come back and do whatever we need, like changing lightbulbs or whatever,” she said.
The volunteers serving at The Teal House painted the front porch and back door, worked on the lawn and cleared bushes from the back.
“Our victims that need services here usually enter from the back,” Grant said. “We wanted it to look more presentable to them with a fresh coat of paint.”
Grant said she hoped the day of service instills an attitude of giving back in the future.
“I hope when they graduate and move on, they’ll find a sexual assault center to give back to,” she said. “I hope wherever they are, they’ll give back to a non-profit. Not let the fraternity just be a name, but will continue to give back.”
Mobley also hopes the students’ efforts continue long beyond the service day, and said to the participants, “I hope your hearts were full after such a fine day of ministering to others. May the Lord richly bless you in all your endeavors and may you always seek to glorify him.”
Honoring Frank Hook
It didn’t take long for Brannen to come up with the name for the service day, but he and others kept the exact name a secret until the day of service.
“We named the event in honor of Mr. Frank Hook,” Brannen said. “In honor of his dedication to the Eta Zeta Chapter of Sigma Chi, his tremendous heart, his unmatched service to this community and the example of integrity that he walks out each and every day.
“We are honored to name this effort, both today and for years to come, the Frank Hook Day of Service. He is the epitome of a servant leader. His life is characterized by a deep love for God, his family, Georgia Southern, his church, his fraternity, his community and his many friends both near and far.”
Hook was honored and deeply moved by the gesture — and speechless for a bit.
“I was just waiting to do the prayer,” Hook said. “I’d planned to add some words about serving God and serving others, and I was thinking about that.”
Hook said he didn’t completely understand what happened next until Sigma Chi members unveiled the sign and handed him a plaque.
“I was so humbled and so appreciative. Shocked. Surprised. Grateful,” he said.
“Community service has always been important to me, and it thrills me that I would be associated with Sigma Chi and their service to the community. It did my heart so good.”
Brannen said Sigma Chi plans to make this a yearly event and said, “Some of us are from Statesboro, but many are not. Statesboro has truly welcomed us with open arms and hearts. We’ve been embraced by a loving community and will look back on this time and always call Statesboro our home away from home.”