The new Disaster Response shower and laundry trailer was dedicated on Sunday, March 4. A project of the Colfax First United Methodist Church, and in particular the congregation's men's group, the trailer will provide four individual shower spaces, laundry facilities, and storage.
According to Marvin Rorabaugh, the completion of the trailer is “the main project for this church. We’re all going to pitch in and do our share, include a couple of carpenters in the community...we’re all going to do it together.” Thinking about the shower trailer and its meaning to the First UMC congregation, he added, “When it’s done it will get on to the next people who need help...that’s what happened to us two years ago (the 2010 flood that impacted Colfax)...we’re going to move it on, for God’s work...we think it will be quite a blessing.”
The trailer is twenty-eight feet long by seven feet wide by seven feet high. In addition to the four showers, one of which will be handicapped accessible, there will be two washers and two dryers. “Doc” Duane Skidmore recalled a Baptist congregation from Kentucky brought up their shower trailer in the aftermath of the 2010 flood. It was used by Colfax residents as well as volunteers who came to do some “mucking out” of the flood mud and sludge from basements. “In the long run,” he observed, “if a church is not involved in mission work, it’s not following the example of Christ...in the end, that’s what we want to be doing – modeling ourselves after Christ’s example.” Constructing and outfitting the shower trailer “has given the men’s organization in this church a new focus, a new purpose for being...and we have 15-20 individuals either wanting to participate in the building of it or being available to transport or set up on disaster sites.” He added, “That I know of, in the Midwest, in The United Methodist Church, we will be the only ministry of this kind.”
During the worship service, Doc noted the “shower trailer ministry is terribly important...this is reaching out to people who have been victims of some of the worst kinds of disasters and we’re doing this because it was first done to us.” Trish Burket, the Conference's Disaster Response Coordinator, spoke about the opportunity to “Fill the Truck, Give Hope” at the 2011 Annual Conference Session. The drive will help stock the trailer with towels, wash cloths, soap, biodegradable laundry detergent, and laundry bags. She told the Colfax congregation “You are the hope...thank you for being the answer God has called you to be.”
The formal dedication of the trailer took place in the parking lot adjacent to the church. As snow fell, church members gathered around, declaring, “We, the Congregation of the Colfax United Methodist Church, reaffirm our commitment to God and God’s people. We will support the use of this trailer with our time, our gifts, and our talents.”