Colorado men give extra effort


Nominees: Gary Russell and Jerry Hanes
Hometown: Durango, Colo.
Favorite Verses: Russell, II Corinthians 4: 16-18; Hanes, Psalms 45:10 and Matthew 7:84568c  
Quotable:  “Give God the Glory, I don’t need any recognition.” – Gary Russell 

“Gary and I have been blessed with the time and ability to come to Mississippi three times and have been able to contribute in some small way towards getting peoples lives back in some resemblance of normal. It has been more rewarding each time as we receive much more than we give. God has blessed us and we thank Him for the opportunity to serve.” -  Jerry Hanes 

Early in 2006 Gary Russell and Jerry Hanes agreed to organize and lead a team of volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Conference of The United Methodist Church to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Their recruiting of volunteers was successful and plans were in place to be at Waveland’s Camp Gulfside that October.  

Two weeks prior to leaving, Russell lost his daughter, a young mother, to cancer. Where most would have given in to the pain of such a loss, Russell did not. He, along with Hanes, continued on their journey with 30 volunteers to Camp Gulfside. 

Both men led their team to accomplish more than was expected of the volunteer teams. Hanes managed the team’s logistics, and Russell planned construction crew assignments. Their knowledge and leadership ensured efficient and steady progress on several houses, and in addition left a sizeable monetary contribution collected from their home church to continue their efforts to help the families with damaged  houses get back home.  

Russell will be remembered by the people with whom he came in contact. They knew about the loss of his daughter and that his mother was critically ill back home. But his strength, courage and perseverance allowed him to give more to the people in Mississippi.  

When Russell returned with the group of 30 volunteers, Hanes stayed over an additional five days to do general clean-up and organize tools and materials at the camp.  

Both men exhibit humility of Christ, living by the motto, “it’s not about me!” Russell and Hanes have recently led another team to Camp Gulfside, once again going the extra mile and leaving money to continue their efforts to rebuild homes and hearts.