January 8, 2013
L-r: Pete Schownir, HU director of gift planning; Mindi Ahl, 2007 alum and business manager at Tom Ahl Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep in Lima, Ohio; Tom Ahl, owner of Tom Ahl dealership; and Grace McBrayer, director of volunteer service and outreach ministry. (With their “knock your socks off” deal)
After more than four years of fundraising, the Joe Mertz Center at Huntington University received an early Christmas present: a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country minivan.
The Joe Mertz Center raised $3100, and the rest was made up by the dealer, Tom Ahl Chrysler of Lima, Ohio (Tom Ahl is the father of 2007 alum Mindi Ahl).
For 20 years, since the JMC began, students have used a 1992 Ford Aerostar for transportation to service projects in the surrounding communities. Because of the wear and tear on the Aerostar, the JMC was only able to use the van for short trips to Fort Wayne and around the Huntington community. Four years ago, fundraising efforts began to replace the van with a more reliable vehicle.
“Receiving this newer van means we will be able to continue our ministry in the communities of Huntington, Fort Wayne and now beyond,” said Grace McBrayer, director of volunteer service and outreach ministry. “It allows us to transport supplies and tools for work days, help with food and clothing drives, and provide for other various needs. Without this van, hours of volunteer service every week would not be happening.”
The Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service is a student-directed organization that mobilizes the campus community for Christian service. Each year, students, faculty, and staff log more than 11,000 volunteer hours working with the Boys & Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, the Girl Scouts, and numerous other community organizations. Throughout the year, students travel on mission trips with the university and host work days to help with needs in the community.