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7/31/12 02:31 PM |
Bus Breakdown Becomes Blessing for St. Mark WorkCamp Trip
Nearly 50 teens and 10 adults from St. Mark Parish in Vienna attended a Group Work Camp in Port Jervis, NY, June 24-30. The week in Port Jervis gathered more than 400 total youth from various faith backgrounds to serve the people of Port Jervis, a small town nestled in the Delaware River Valley near the junction of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.
The St. Mark teens spent the week serving those in need in Port Jervis by building wheelchair ramps, painting homes, and other various jobs. Work Camp is always a fun, but long week. When it finally comes to Friday, everyone is sad to say good bye but ready to return home.
This year, the trip home for St. Mark teens included an unexpected stop in Bethel, Pa., when the school bus broke down. The bus held 50 of the total group, who then had to wait on the highway in the middle of the summer heat, but rescue was not far behind.
In addition to the school bus and the Penske filled with tools and belongings, there were three additional vehicles driven by chaperones and Red Shirt Staff members. These three vehicles began shuttling the teens from the hot bus to a nearby, air conditioned barbecue restaurant (found by several adults with iPads).
As the teens were being rescued from the heat, a group of dedicated adults worked with a local tow truck and police to get the school bus off the highway and into a repair shop. The engine trouble that stopped the bus was not going to be a quick fix, which meant that another bus would need to come from Virginia to meet the group in Pennsylvania.
Both St. Mark and Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) Parishes in Vienna borrow school busses from St. Timothy School in Chantilly for their trips to Group Work Camp. While the St. Mark group was breaking down in Pennsylvania, the OLGC bus was just returning to Vienna. David Lonesome, a bus driver from St. Timothy School in Chantilly, went to pick up the bus from OLGC so he could drive to the small town outside Harrisburg, Pa., and save the St. Mark group.
For the next three hours, St. Mark teens waited for this bus to arrive at Kauffman’s Bar-B-Que Ranch in Bethel, Pa., which ended up becoming the perfect spot to be stranded. God was definitely looking out for the group.
The diner offered a very affordable (and delicious) meal for lunch. After everyone was fed, the teens spent their wait-time reading their Care Cards from Work Camp; playing mini-golf; walking around the grounds, which included a pond and several Frisbee-worthy fields; enjoying ice cream; and taking pictures of the Kauffman peacock, named Dody. With so much to keep the group busy, it felt more like a second fun day instead of a stressful breakdown.
Three hours after he left Northern Virginia, Lonesome arrived to save the day. The final leg of the trip went by without any further adventures. The St. Mark teens returned to the parish parking lot around 9 pm that night, greeted by parents, siblings, and friends. Their day had been longer than expected, but God had continued to bless the trip even through the difficulties.