New students show community ETBU cares

New East Texas Baptist University students Hannah Godwin of Spring and Olivia Moore of Nacogdoches remove nails from a utility pole at the corner of Franklin and Austin in Marshall as part of an ETBU Cares community service project during Welcome Week at the university. (PHOTO / Mike Midkiff)

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MARSHALL—Freshmen and transfer students at East Texas Baptist University fanned out in the community the day after they moved into their dorms, showing their new neighbors “ETBU Cares.”

etbu cares groups425As a community service project new East Texas Baptist University students pulled nails from poles located on East Grand Avenue and surrounding streets. Nails and staples are a safety hazards to power company employees who have to climb utility poles. (PHOTO / Mike Midkiff)As part of Welcome Week at ETBU, the students served in all six Marshall elementary schools and at a food pantry, a ministry to the homeless, two apartment complexes, a therapeutic equestrian center and at Boys and Girls Clubs.

They also removed nails and staples from utility poles along East Grand Avenue, near the university campus.

Franklin Atkinson, retired religion professor and vice president for spiritual affairs at ETBU, presented the pole-cleaning idea to Baptist Student Ministry Director Mark Yates.

Atkinson cited an article in a local electric co-op publication that reported the nails and staples—left in poles after people posted signs advertising garage sales or offering rewards for lost pets—present a safety hazard to utility linemen. Yates suggested the nail-removal service project to Lisa Seeley, director of the ETBU Great Commission Center.

“I feel like sometimes that the simple things that people don’t think about, as well as the dirtiest jobs of service, make the most impact,” said freshman Lexi Pyle of Beaumont. “I like doing things outside the box that no one else wants to do.” 

More than 200 students divided into 15 teams to complete community service projects as part of the Great Commission Center’s ongoing “ETBU Cares” emphasis.

etbu cares right425East Texas Baptist University students Taylor Talbert of Waco and Isaac McTaggart of Fort Worth pull nails and staples out of a utility pole at the corner of Franklin and East Grand in Marshall. (PHOTO / Mike Midkiff)At My Friend’s House, students worked on tasks to benefit the homeless and people in need, and at Mission Marshall, they restocked food pantry shelves with canned goods. At the Dayspring Therapeutic Equestrian Center, student volunteers removed brush and dead limbs. 

Other students led Kid’s Club, a recreation and Bible-teaching activity, at two apartment complexes. Additional teams cleaned facilities at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Big Pines.

Students who served at Marshall elementary schools helped teachers prepare their rooms for the first day of classes.

“ETBU students don’t mind doing the dirty jobs,” said Taylor Talbert, a student from Clifton. “Jesus did the dirty jobs in his time, like wash the feet of his disciples.”

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