Appalachia Service Project

How did ASP get started?

Appalachia Service Project (ASP) was once a dream in Methodist Minister Glenn “Tex” Evans’ heart. While serving in Eastern Kentucky, Tex witnessed the great need for home repair assistance. He envisioned a way to meet this need by matching high school youth groups with families in need. By transforming Christian faith into action, ASP helped to alleviate poverty’s consequences while encouraging growth in Christian faith and Stewardship.

In 1969, ASP’s inaugural summer, 50 volunteers came to Barbourville, Kentucky, and repaired four homes. Now, each summer, 14,000 volunteers repair 500 homes. In all, over 300,000 volunteers from across the nation have repaired more than 15,000 homes and, in the process, Appalachian families, volunteers, and staff have been immeasurably blessed.

Watch Dave Johnson and others describe SUMC's participation in ASP over previous years.

ASP Coordinator: Lance Tucker  ( or 910.389.4068)

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Youth Appalachia Work Team 2018

"Here I am, send me!"

Our 2018 trip takes 35 youth and 24 adults to the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee.

Even if you are unable to be on the team, you can help support this program by becoming a ‘Stockholder’ on our SUMC Team. Click HERE for a blank Stock form to print on your local printer.

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Youth Appalachia Work Team 2017

Our 15th Year of Service to our nation’s poor in the Appalachia Mountains

Our 2017 mission trip was June 25 – July 1 in Kentucky.

This year's ASP team includes 30 youth and 23 adults (of which 5 are returning college students). Yes, 53 volunteers traveled to Hyden, Kentucky to help make homes of those less fortunate warmer, dryer and safer.

Thanks to the very generous support of SUMC, we have been able to send Youth based Mission Teams to Appalachia since 2003 with Appalachia Service Project.

  • 427 Volunteers have served on 64 work-teams in 5 States. (Tennessee, Virginia, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina)
  • Teams are led by skilled contractors/craftsmen from our congregation.
  • Studies are done in preparation – Christian service, poverty, safety, economic and social conditions in the region, construction skills, etc.
  • A Training Project is completed to practice our skills and help locally (ramps, picnic tables, repairs at The Refuge and Camp Don Lee, etc.)

Through this Program…

  • Our Youth gain first-hand experience with poverty and Christian service. (Youth have followed up with missions to Africa, Central America, The Caribbean, New York, Atlanta and been leaders at ASP Centers).
  • Our Youth get to know one another and people from other regions/states.
  • The generations of the church get to work together and know one another.
  • SUMC receives positive publicity in publications (Tideland News, Daily News, News-Times).

SUMC plans to send about 49 volunteers to Eastern Kentucky June 25 - July 1, 2017. Our training has already begun.

Even if you are unable to be on the team, you can help support this program by becoming a ‘Stockholder’ on our SUMC Team. Just fill out the form and drop it with your check in the offering plate or at the office.

Thank you for your support and your prayers!

Your SUMC ASP Mission Team

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ASP 2016

SUMC sent more than 42 volunteers to Eastern Tennessee June 19-25, 2016.

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ASP 2015

Our Appalachia Service Project team hosted a dinner on July 24th to thank the congregation for its generous support of their mission trip to Rutherford County North Carolina. The trip was very successful for both the work that was performed on five houses as well as the spiritual bonding which took place between our team members and the families we supported.

After dinner, they shared a slideshow and team members spoke of their work and bonding with each other and the families.

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ASP 2014 – Life on Purpose

Swansboro UMC completed its 12th year of service through the Appalachia Service Project bringing 21 youth and 18 adult leaders to Mitchell County, NC to repair the homes of those in need. The projects varied widely from top to bottom (roof to foundation) and also included ramp building and deck repairs, sheet rock, flooring, insulation and painting. In April the team also completed some building repairs at Methodist Camp Don Lee to practice their skills before heading to the mountains. Team leaders Tom Scholl (Stella), Roger Fulp (Cape Carteret),  Roy Staebler (Emerald Isle), Bill Eubanks, Paul Williams and Lance Tucker (Swansboro) demonstrated great skill and versatility in completing this wide variety of projects utilizing inexperienced helpers and lots of creativity.

The theme for this year involves intentional living – “Living Life on Purpose” and is built on the Bible verse John 20:21 ‘…as the Father has sent me, I am sending you’. This theme is creatively depicted in the team t-shirts designed by Tom Crawford of Swansboro. While the construction is very important, ASP considers its mission to be ‘a relationship ministry with construction on the side.’ That was true as the team bonded within itself, with other groups from Atlanta and Raleigh, with the local community and especially with the families being served. The six families served ranged from elderly widows to multigenerational families. The group found that a ‘purposeful life’ involves joyfully serving others.
Click on Photo for Larger View.

The group was generously supported by the congregation and the local community. The Swansboro Shrine Club and United Methodist Men ran a fish fry in March to help support the team’s expenses and the church’s scout troop. A Congregation Appreciation Dinner will be hosted by the team at 6:00pm on July 11th to thank its supporters and show pictures and tell stories from the trip.

Team Members are: William and Jay Ahlquist, Kristin Baker, Andy and Angie Bean, Tripp Chesnutt,  Shelby Cobb, Callie Copeland, Ben Egerton, Bill Eubanks, Caleb and Roger Fulp, Jim, Jordan and Tyler Glynn, Hans Harlacher, Ashley and Tori Hypes, Dave and Linda Johnson, Paula King, Kirk McIntosh, Allison Murphy, Justin Nightingale, Noah Price, Tom Scholl, Kathy and Rene Simencic, Angie, Sarah, Roy and Ryan Staebler, Lance, Lacey and Neva Tucker, Paul and Ruby Williams and Thomas and Rachel Woodul.

   Team Picture: The Swansboro ASP Team held a
Commissioning Communion Service
the evening before departure
lead by Associate Pastor Angelo Sanchez.

Thank you for your support and your prayers!
Your Swansboro UMC ASP Mission Team

ASP Coordinator: Dave Johnson

Click on Photo for Larger View.      

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2013 ASP Youth Mission

Life Changing Adventures

When you open yourself to God’s service, you never know what adventures will present themselves.

After two days of work in intermittent rain, the sun shone brightly in Elk Park, NC as the youth-focused work crews from our Swansboro NC United Methodist Church finished up the third day’s work and headed for cleansing and refreshment at Elk River Falls.

Passengers were dropped off to hustle down the trail to the falls as three of the adults, delayed in finding a place to park, followed behind. They reached the top of the 45-foot drop to the rocks and pool below and paused to take pictures of the group enjoying the chilly water below.

Neva Tucker of Swansboro and Jim Glynn of Cedar Point were observing the fun when suddenly, Josh Fulp of Bogue gasped in shock as he observed the only other person on the upper landing approach the edge to check the water temperature and fall from the slippery rocks into the running water that led to the falls.

The woman, Arlene of Knoxville, Tenn., was unable to help herself. She began to slowly lose her grip and slide toward the edge.

Immediately Glynn and Tucker joined Fulp and the three were able to grasp and rescue her from imminent disaster.

The woman told her rescuers she had stayed at the top because she felt physically unable to tackle the slippery path that her sister and friends had taken to the bottom. Nobody below was even aware of what was taking place above.

“Usually I am in a rush to experience a new adventure right away, but for some reason this time I felt OK with the delay and the opportunity to pause and take pictures of our youth enjoying themselves,” said Tucker. “I know I was meant to be there, and so were Josh and Jim. It was a different kind of service to others than I had expected.

“This has been life changing for me and the others, and certainly for Arlene. We don’t even know if she told her sister what had happened.”

Tucker said the woman had been using a cane and was incapable of pushing herself up, especially given that the rocks were coated with algae.

“She was sliding toward the waterfall, which was about a 45-foot drop,” she said. “It was not going to be good. And if she had gone over, her sister was at the bottom and would have seen her, and so would our youth.”

The Swansboro group was in Avery County as part of Appalachia Service Project (ASP). It is the eleventh year the church has sent a team to do home repairs for the needy through ASP. This year was the largest group ever, with 41 participating (23 high school youth and 18 adults). The theme this year is “Radical Reversal” and focuses on how we change to become less self-focused and more others-focused through our relationship with God.

Roger Fulp of Cape Carteret, Josh’s father, served with his group across the border in Tennessee, well up into Roan Mountain, where they replaced the structure and roof on a steep hillside and built an accessibility ramp.

Tom Scholl of Stella led a team that repaired water damage to a home and replaced the flooring. Team member Earl Franz of Hubert, a Navy doctor, spent the mornings at the project site and performed medical services at an area homeless shelter in the afternoons.

Josh Fulp’s group served a multi-generational family with two young children who enjoyed helping with the project. They repaired structure and underpinning for their mobile home.

The team led by Paul Williams of Swansboro built an accessibility ramp and added safety aids in the bathroom for Joe, who lived alone and really appreciated the time with the youth. The homeowner shared with members of the group his business of beekeeping, allowing them to suit up and establish a new hive.

A double team served a single mother and her 12-year-old daughter with both inside and outside projects. Bill Eubanks of Swansboro and Roy Staebler of Emerald Isle led this group. Structure was built for a metal roof over the existing mobile home roof due to the number of leaks. Another group will then add the metal for the roof. Work on the interior walls and ceiling was accomplished in large part with material the homeowner had salvaged.

Within the group there was a constant rivalry between the UNC and N.C. State fans, fueled by the college baseball world series. It didn’t help from the State viewpoint that the themed T-shirts designed and donated by Tom Crawford of Swansboro were sky blue this year. The Swansboro group also shared the center with the Newman Center from Chapel Hill. Both groups bonded immediately and shared a joy filled week developing lasting friendships. The Wolfpack fans, however, got a special treat when the building inspector arrived at the job site. He was none other than Tommy Burleson, the 7-foot, 2-¼-inch star center of the N.C. State 1974 NCAA National Basketball Championship Team.

You never know what surprises and adventures are just around the corner!


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Youth ASP Mission 2012

The youth and leaders of Swansboro UMC headed off in mission teams this summer (June 17-23) to the Appalachia Region to participate in hands-on mission work projects with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). The projects are all aimed at making the people safer, warmer or drier… but most of all, reaching out to people in the name of Christ.

Ministry Tackles Home Makeovers

   Six youth-focused work teams made up from 38 members of Swansboro United Methodist Church recently returned from participating in the ‘makeover’ of five homes in Eastern Tennessee as part of the Appalachia Service Project (ASP).  In the past year, ASP has been working with ABC’s TV show ‘Extreme Makeover – Home Edition’ to provide volunteers for two builds and to salvage useable building materials. While our church group was not involved in the TV projects, it has for the past 10 years been part of the ASP objective of making homes safer, warmer, and drier in the impoverished region of Central Appalachia. Since its inception in 1969, ASP work teams have completed repairs on over 15,000 homes in the region.

   The most extensive makeover project that our church participated in involved siding removal, structural repairs, insulation, window replacement, foundation supports, house wrap, vinyl siding, ventilation, plumbing repairs, floor supports and resurfacing. The three bedroom one bath structure that was home to a family with three teenage daughters became home to a second family when a mother of two young children had to vacate her mobile home after storm and hail damage. Work teams headed by Roy Staebler (Emerald Isle) and Paul Williams (Swansboro) took on this assignment which is being completed this summer by other teams from around the country. “We became one big, happy family” said Desiree McCabe (Cape Carteret), “as the children, homeowner and even neighbors all chipped in to help.”

   A team led by Tom Scholl (Stella) also did structural repairs, house wrap and vinyl siding. The home is owned by a retired Navy Seal who was unable to keep up with home repairs following a heart attack. A highlight of their trip was being entertained by a family member and her acapella gospel group at lunch and Justin Nightingale added tunes with his mandolin.

   Clyde Keagy (Swansboro) became fast friends with a homeowner who had to give up working following a fall from a scaffold. Clyde’s team did floor repairs and laminate and painted the ceilings. 

  “I now have my runway,” was the exclamation of a woman entering her home following dialysis using the ramp built by a team led by Roger Fulp (Cape Carteret). The team built a second ramp the same week at the woman’s mother’s home.

   Jim Glynn (Cedar Point) and Josh Fulp (Cape Carteret) headed a team that provided underpinnings, insulation and deck repairs on the mobile home of a woman who is providing care for her two young nephews. The seven-year-old had the confidence to lead the prayer for about 100 people at the weekly picnic with the families. This team became known as the ‘B Team’ due to their extensive need for ‘Raid’ during the week.

   The trip was made possible by the generosity of church members and its men’s and women’s groups who  became ‘stockholders’ in the effort by purchasing ‘shares’ in the project. Community support has also been generous as the Swansboro Shrine Club and the Bogue House Restaurant held a Fish Fry to raise funds for this trip and for the church’s scout troop. Bill Baker (Cedar Point) hand crafted wooden crosses that were signed and presented to each family. Tom Crawford (Swansboro) designed and donated theme t-shirts for the group.

   “When we do these home makeovers, we can also experience a personal makeover as we share the joy of serving selflessly in God’s name. We become family with different generations of our church and share a week with strangers who become fast friends,” said Dave Johnson (Emerald Isle) who organized the trip. “It can be a life changing experience.”

SUMC ASP Team - Seymour, Tennessee - June 17-23, 2012

   Kneeling: ASP Sevier County TN Staff - Terrance McLean (NY), Tiffany Herring (FL), Michelle Hudson (WI), Rhia Bell (NC)
   Front: Lynn Rouse, Hans Harlacher, Kristen and Kerry Baker, Greg Nardo, Kirk McIntosh, Rachel Woodul, Emily and Kelsie Maxwell, Paxon Holz, Ashley Hypes, Desiree McCabe, Ruby Williams, Linda Johnson
   Middle: Dave Johnson, Tristan Henry, Gracie Glover, Kaysey Raper, Neva Tucker, Tom Scholl, Kathy Woodul, Lacey Tucker, Tori Hypes, Susan Fulp, Josh Fulp, Clyde Keagy, Paul Williams
   Back: Roy Staebler, Justin Nightingale, Ryan Staebler, Caleb Fulp, Jake Norris, Jesse Williams, Jim and Jordan Glynn, Pat Raper, Erika Harlacher, Roger Fulp

Stockholders attended a dinner meeting on July 20th where our youth shared their experience through pictures and testimonies. This has been a wonderful church event with about 100 people attending each of the past ten years. Youth returning from ASP testify that it has been a life changing experience! As a stockholder, you will experience the joy of being part of this mission work, and see how far your money went, as the labor is cheap - we loved working for Free!

Thank you for your support and your prayers!

 Your SUMC ASP Mission Team

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Two of Our Mission Efforts Come Together

On April 14, 2012 members of our SUMC Youth Mission Team ventured to The Refuge Camp near Ayden to practice their construction skills. The team will be headed to Seymour (Sevier County) Tennessee in June to perform home repairs in one of the poorest regions of our country in conjunction with the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). The team completed a dozen bunk beds to double the sleeping capacity at The Refuge, a Christian camp that is one of the primary missions supported by our church.

Chip Olmstead, one of the founding leaders at The Refuge, has utilized our ASP team over the years to build picnic tables, trash containers, canoe racks, roof repairs, a handicap ramp, porch construction and now bunk beds. It is a win-win for both our missions as needed work is done and skills are gained. As water and septic are expanded at The Refuge, this summer will offer the most expansive programs for inner-city, underprivileged area youth to date.

If you would like to support these efforts, drop a check to SUMC in the plate some Sunday with either ‘The Refuge’ or ‘ASP’ on the memo line.

     Lower Level:
   Jim Glynn, Emily Maxwell, Dave & Linda Johnson, Kathy Woodul,
   Hans Harlacher, Tristan Henry, Ryan Staebler, Roger Fulp, Ruby Williams,
   Tom Scholl, Josh Fulp, Bill Eubanks, and Paul Williams.

     Upper Level:
   Jordan Glynn, Roy Staebler, Jesse Williams, Rachel Woodul, Gracie Glover,
   Justin Nightingale, Caleb Fulp, and Desiree McCabe

   Click on Photo for larger view.

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Youth Appalachia Work Team 2011

ASP Appreciation Dinner, Friday, July 22, 2011

100 members of the congregation attended the 9th ASP Dinner headed up by Marcie Briley and cooking by Charlie Johnson. Dave Johnson and each of the work teams shared their experiences and appreciation for the generosity of the congregation and community in supporting this youth mission effort.

Here are a couple of pictures from the dinner.  Click on one to see a larger version.

Read about the group's 2011experience!

Pictures from the trip:

ASP Team Commissioned, Saturday, June 18, 2011

Our youth focused Appalachia Service Project mission team is in Wyoming County (Mullens), West Virginia working to make the homes of those in need safer, warmer and drier. The team was commissioned on June 18th at a special service at 5:30 p.m. They left at 6:00 a.m. June 19th and will return June 25th. Please keep them in your prayers: Kerry and Kristin Baker, Marcie Briley, Bill Eubanks, Caleb, Susan and Roger Fulp, Gracie Glover, Lane Harris, Rian Henriksen, Dave and Linda Johnson, Clyde Keagy, Emily and Kelsie Max-well, Kirk McIntosh, Jessica and Justin Nightingale, Jake Norris, Kaysey Raper, Lynn Rouse, Elli and Tom Scholl, Hannah and Sarah Simpson, Roy and Ryan Staebler, Jesse and Ruby Williams and Kathy and Rachel Woodul. In addition, Jordan Barham and Jolean Brann are serving all summer as ASP staff. The team appreciates the tremendous support of the SUMC congregation, including the UMM and the UMW, and plans an appreciation dinner on July 22nd at 6:00pm.

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SUMC Appalachia Mission Team 2010

All in the Family

With today’s highly mobile lifestyle, families often become spread across the country. Living in a fast paced society, we often miss the value of simple things. Visiting the rural Appalachia region is in many ways a throwback to an earlier time. Extended families live in close proximity and are constantly ‘dropping by.’ Recreation is found in the beauty of the natural mountain setting. Communities must hold together to survive. 
Swansboro UMC sent five youth-focused work teams totaling 31 participants to Lee County, Virginia led by Bill Eubanks and Clyde Keagy (Swansboro), Roger Fulp (Cape Carteret), Roy Staebler (Emerald Isle) and Tom Scholl (Stella). The Swansboro group was joined by groups from Des Moines, Iowa and Memphis, Tennessee for the week. This is the eighth year that the church has participated in the Appalachia Service Project by performing home repairs in one of the poorest regions of our country. Lee County is located at the Cumberland Gap where Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee come together. It has a beautiful Smoky Mountain setting, but poverty rates double the national average. The population has declined 13% in eight years as coal and timber jobs have declined and able bodied and younger residents move to other areas to find employment. The tradeoff between strong extended family ties and opportunity is evident. “Even more than fixing homes, we are called to bring hope and encouragement and to accept people - where they are - unconditionally, in Christian love,” says Dave Johnson who organized the effort. “Our teams found joy in relationships with the families that overcome financial circumstances. We strengthened the foundations of their homes, but also listened to their situations, read Bible stories and played games with their children and shared meals and friendship. A fifteen year old family member, Trey, had said he really didn’t want to meet the people working on their home, but when Sarah Simpson challenged him to a basketball game, the boundaries were dropped. He realized he could be friends with these strangers from the coast and his horizons were instantly expanded by a simple gesture of friendship. You can’t help but be changed yourself when you take the time to share in other people’s lives. In a way, you become part of the family.”

Imagine you’re with us on Thursday night:  All of the families gather for a cookout at the local park. The kids and youth take a swim or play in the sand box or shoot hoops or throw a Frisbee. The adults tell stories and reminisce. Clyde’s team brings fourteen family members, perhaps a record, and Bill’s team brings eight. All of our new families are there. Angee Stewart, a first-time ASP volunteer, sits with family member Charlie in the picnic area as he has cerebral palsy and is uncomfortable joining the 120 person prayer circle gathered to bless the day and the meal. Angee’s team leader, Tom, opens the prayer “Hello God, It’s me, Tom.” Charlie turns to Angee and adds, “That’s my God, too!” We are one with our family and our extended family and with our church family and with God’s family.

The team hosted a congregational dinner July 16, 2011 to recount their experiences and to thank church members and the community for their encouragement, prayers and support. It was unanimous – everyone is excited to do it again next year.

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SUMC Appalachia Mission Team 2009

A team of 15 youth and 8 adults from Swansboro and Tabernacle United Methodist Churches honed their construction skills in preparation for their seventh annual mission team with the Appalachia Service Project. The effort serves to help those in need make their homes safer, warmer and dryer. This group worked on the homes of those in need in Campbell County, Tennessee in June. The primary training project was extensive repairs to the entry of the Swansboro American Legion Post 78 that made it handicap accessible. The group also built picnic tables for the Son Set Refuge, a Christian camp near Ayden, NC.

“The problems of the poor continue, so our work continues…everyone can do something beautiful for God by reaching out to poor people in their own countries. This is the future - this is God’s wish for us - to serve through love in action…”
~ Mother Teresa

For the seventh year, the youth of Swansboro United Methodist Church (SUMC) took these words to heart as they served the needy of the Appalachia region by doing home repairs. Seventeen youth and eleven adults, including three from Tabernacle/Belgrade UMCs, worked to make homes safer, warmer and drier through the Appalachia Service Project (ASP). It was a long trip to Campbell County Tennessee (north of Knoxville on the Kentucky border) where the poverty rate is 23.9%, but the experience proved rewarding. 

On returning, Hannah Simpson, a rising junior at Swansboro High School reported her experiences to the church congregation. Speaking of homeowner Kathy and her wheelchair bound grandson Wesley, “It’s amazing how happy people can be with next to nothing. They can have a rotting foundation, the roof can be collapsing in on them and they can still be the happiest people you ever met.”

Church groups from Michigan, Florida and Georgia joined the Swansboro group in living at the local elementary school for the week. All the groups and the local families joined for a picnic on Thursday evening. Corey Crawford, a rising Swansboro High School senior, told SUMC how one family was told they would be getting running water for the first time later this summer. A young girl in the family was heard to say “Does this mean that I can be clean when I go to school next year?” Corey reported, “That got me thinking about everything we take for granted, such as: having a sink, being able to brush your teeth, not only taking a warm shower, but taking any shower at all. When we heard that we were able to do this for this family, everyone was overcome with joy. This taught me to be grateful for everything I have.”

Tina, a divorced mother of two boys ages 6 and 11, had been hit by lightening when she was 10 and is now experiencing gradually debilitating nerve damage. The ASP staff stopped to offer help when they saw her with her walker on a collapsing porch. Thanks to the hard work and generosity of our area churches, Tina now has a deck and ramp structure that will give her mobility. She held back tears watching her two sons make new friends, learn new skills and gain a sense of accomplishment while working with our youth. Another Swansboro crew replaced underpinnings and built a new roof structure for homeowner Linda and the fourth crew repaired floors, walls and sealed the roof for Rosa and her extended family.

“The theme for our 2009 ASP was ‘Putting Faith Forward’ and our team did just that. I was really impressed with the eagerness of our youth to not only work really hard, but also to show love and concern for the families we served and the groups we lived with all week. It was wonderful to see the generations of the church work and laugh together. Six of our eleven adults are over sixty and our youth are as young as fourteen, but it felt like one happy family,” said Dave Johnson who organized the trip.

In her concluding remarks to the church, Hannah summed it up pretty well, “ASP, last year and this year, are the best thing I’ve done with my life.” She encouraged the congregation to “jump at the opportunity to go on a mission trip and experience the joy of serving others.”