Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local News

April 14, 2014

Vashti benefits from NOMADS love

THOMASVILLE — NOMADS recently set up camp on the grounds of The Vashti Center on East Clay Street.

Roaming the country in their RVs, this small band of volunteers is on a mission to use its skills in the service of individuals or Christian agencies in need. Vashti has become one of the group’s favorite three-week projects because of the staff’s Southern hospitality, the opportunity to improve the buildings that house Vashti’s children and the joy of using their skills to help support the mission of offering troubled youth a sanctuary in which to heal — mentally and spiritually.

Members of NOMADS, a mission outreach ministry of United Methodist, are typically retirees who enjoy RV traveling and view retirement as a fruitful time and an opportunity to live out their faith in a hands-on way by helping others.

Membership in the United Methodist Church is not required to participate in this ministry. All that is necessary is an RV, some tools and labor.

Chuck Walters, a Presbyterian and retired Air Force colonel from Virginia, said he and his wife, Sally, relish the freedom they now have to give back to those who have helped them or cannot help themselves. They plan to continue serving the NOMAD ministry as long as their good health prevails.

The Vashti-visiting NOMADS come from Michigan, Texas, Virginia and Missouri. Together, they have installed a sump pump in the basement of Vashti’s administration building, refurbished the bathrooms in each of the resident cottages, changed 39 outdoor light bulbs, swept off debris from the roofs of buildings and sanded, primed and painted walls and floors.

The women, impressively handy with drills and caulking guns, have laid tile and installed house wrap.

The NOMADS also laid cement for a new basketball court for the resident children. In the process, some local boys became interested in helping with the project, and the NOMADS happily explained to them the steps in mixing and setting the cement.

The children were surprised to discover the NOMADS are doing their work without charge.

John Hooper, a NOMAD from Michigan and retired General Motors engineer, remembered a boy asking him why the NOMADS do not get paid.

Hooper answered the boy by saying, “Because God’s love is free.”

Founded in 1903 — The Vashti Center is a nonprofit, faith-based ministry that provides residential and community mental health services foe troubled children, youth and their families. It serves the counties of Thomas, Brooks, Colquitt, Decatur, Grady and Mitchell. For more information, visit


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