GROUP: High school youth group students from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Burlington, are pictured while building a wheelchair ramp and painting the exterior of Virgil Cline’s home.
Medical Leader | Photo by ABIGAIL GIBSON

Family benefits from caring group

By: 
Abigail Gibson

PIKEVILLE — For the sixth year, 62 high school youth group students from Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Burlington built four wheelchair ramps and painted two houses for current and past Pikeville Medical Center (PMC) patients.

 

“We don’t have to travel to a different country to help others, the need is here in our own state,” Youth Leader Libby Hahnel said.

 

This is Hahnel’s sixth trip to the Appalachian mountains.

 

“Each summer we plan a five-day trip to Pikeville or the surrounding area. This year we hiked at the Breaks Interstate Park to show the students God’s creation of the land,” she said. “I love the mountain terrain, it is so different from Northern Kentucky. It is like a breath of fresh air to me.”

 

Hahnel said each year is an eye- opening experience.

 

“It’s very humbling and a wonderful feeling doing something good for other people, while making friends and creating memories,” she added.

 

It is Andrew Jacob’s third time serving our patients.

 

“What most service people do is indirect, but this is a one on one experience. You can see the person you’re helping, engage in conversation and see their facial expressions. It’s nice to know you’re making a difference,” he said.

 

Chloe Black said this is unlike anything she’s ever done before.

 

“It’s a very humbling experience. It is also a blessing to be able to help those less fortunate,” Black said.

 

Zachary Bockweg said he loves helping people.

 

“This is my third time coming to Pikeville and I look forward to this trip every year. It’s fun getting to know other people and nice to know you’re helping someone else,” he said.

 

Homeowner Virgil Cline of Varney and daughter, Connie Belcher of Varney said they are blessed to receive this kind of help.

 

“This is just wonderful. I think the students are doing a great job,” Belcher said. “It is just my father and I, he can’t do this kind of work and neither can I, so this is truly a blessing. They’re teaching these kids great values and what they’re doing is a great thing.”