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Caring Hands provides thousands in services

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Caring Hands

Steve Apland of the Black Hills School of Massage, left, and Jerri Woodard of Great Escape, right, deliver free massages during the Caring Hands event in Chadron Sept. 13.

Several dozen individuals received an estimated $30,000 in free services during the first ever Caring Hands Chadron event, and organizers are so pleased with the results that they are already planning next year’s community service offering.

Organized the local Seventh-day Adventist Church and its members, the free community service day offered a range of services – from dental and vision exams to massage therapy and car detailing – in an effort to share Christ’s love by caring for others.

The “mini-clinic” is modeled after much larger events sponsored by the World Seventh-day Adventist Church in an effort to share Jesus with those in need in the inner city. The first event was in San Francisco in 2014 and was followed by events in San Antonio and Spokane in 2015 and Los Angeles earlier this year.

The Los Angeles event provided $40 million in free services to approximately 8,500 people in two days, Terry Owen said. He and wife Brenda both attended, as did Crystal Brooks, Joni Behrends, Tori Wild and Jessamyn Voss. More than 3,500 volunteers provided free medical, dental and eye care, massages, counseling, hair cuts, clothing, meals and more.

When they returned home, they were so moved by what they had taken part in, they began to wonder “Why not in Chadron, on a smaller scale?”

Their efforts culminated last week with Caring Hands Chadron; free services were provided by roughly 40 volunteers, Owen said. Those volunteers represented several churches and businesses from Chadron, and Owen said he’s grateful for the efforts of the sponsors and volunteers.

“It couldn’t have happened without them all.”

An estimated 75 people from Crawford, Chadron and Hay Springs, as well as international visitors from China and Singapore, were on the receiving end of $30,000 in free services.

Owen said it was interesting to see how quickly word of the event spread that day through word of mouth.

“We had helped a man in the morning with some dental work and then later that afternoon, we had several patients come in who had heard about Caring Hands from him at Wal-Mart and a gas station,” Owen said.

The car care team on site even saved a car’s life, Owen said, after discovering that the oil was so low it didn’t even register on the dipstick.

“Its owner was very thankful,” he said.

The event went over so well, organizers have already determined they will host it again next year on Sept. 11, 2017.

“9-11 has been designated as a day to remember by doing good deeds in America. What a great way to remember 9-11,” Owen said.

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