<strong>By Debbie Adams\r\n<\/strong><strong>Vinton Messenger Correspondent<\/strong>\r\n\r\n[caption id="attachment_30873" align="aligncenter" width="960"]<img class="wp-image-30873 size-full" src="https:\/\/mountainmedianews.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/13\/2017\/12\/Thrasher-ASP-photo-1.jpg" alt="" width="960" height="720" \/> Walter Crouch (right) the CEO and President of the Appalachia Service Project, accepted a check for $20,000 from Pastor B. Failes and the congregation at Thrasher Memorial UMC in Vinton, which will be used to build a home in flood-devastated Rainelle.[\/caption]\r\n<h1>ASP is a \u201cChristian ministry, open to all people, that inspires hope and service through volunteer home repair for poor families in Central Appalachia.\u201d The ASP vision is that substandard housing in the region will be eradicated and that \u201ceveryone who comes in contact with this ministry will be transformed.\u201d<\/h1>\r\nThrasher Memorial United Methodist Church in Vinton, VA, has been involved with ASP ministries for 20 years, supporting their programs both financially and by sending teams of volunteers to assist with home repairs. Gifts to ASP from churches such as Thrasher provide ASP with personnel, materials, support services, and equipment to carry out their mission.\r\n\r\nOn Dec. 10, Walter Crouch, the President and CEO of ASP visited Thrasher Memorial to accept a check for $20,000 which was raised by the Thrasher congregation to help build a home in Rainelle, an area devastated by flooding in June 2016.\r\n\r\nASP has made a two-year commitment for \u201cRebuilding Rainelle\u201d in Greenbrier County. Teams of ASP volunteers had already been repairing and rehabilitating Rainelle homes for two summers, \u201cso the ministry already had a bond with the community before this most recent misfortune, when 90 percent of the homes and most of the downtown businesses were either damaged or destroyed. In fact, when floodwaters engulfed the town, three ASP work crews were stranded with the families they were helping with home repairs at the time.\u201d\r\n\r\nCrouch said the original strategy called for volunteers to construct 50 new energy-efficient and low maintenance homes and to complete \u201cmajor repairs\u201d in 60 more.\r\n\r\nCrouch, in turn, presented Pastor B. Failes of Thrasher with a certificate recognizing Thrasher\u2019s 20 years of service to ASP.\u00a0 Failes had asked those who had been involved in any ASP project to wear their ASP t-shirts to the Sunday services to show \u201cthe impact the 20 years have had on the church as a whole and how many people have been touched through this ministry.\u201d The presentations were made at each of Thrasher\u2019s three services.\r\n\r\nThrasher members Bonnie and Dave Jones were recognized for leading ASP mission teams, both youth and adult, from Thrasher for 19 of those 20 years. Another ASP mission trip is planned for summer 2018.\r\n\r\nCrouch announced that ASP will soon be celebrating its 50th anniversary and that the \u201cconsistent Golden Thread\u201d despite changes in staff, volunteers, and families served annually, has been the churches like Thrasher who are steadfast in their dedication to supporting the ASP ministry.\r\n\r\nOver the years since ASP was founded in 1969, 400,000 volunteers have helped 20,000 families.\r\n\r\nCrouch said that in the past year, 75 new homes have been built in Rainelle, in Sevier County, Tennessee, and through the New Build Appalachia project.\r\n\r\nASP addresses substandard housing using volunteer labor in Central Appalachia, specifically in the states of Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Repairs are made using volunteer labor and at no cost to the homeowner.\r\n\r\nThe ASP mission originated in 1969 with Glenn \u201cTex\u201d Evans, a United Methodist minister, who became one of the first people to connect the energy of youth with the needs of the poor. He recruited 50 teens and adults to repair homes in Barbourville, Kentucky, where they worked onsite during the day and worshipped at night.\r\n\r\nThe ASP website, www.ASPhome.org,\u00a0 says that \u201cASP is more than just a building program. Because when you change the lives of others, they have a way of changing you. After a few days of hard work repairing homes with ASP, your hands will grow a little tougher, your arms a little stronger, and your relationship with God a whole lot deeper. And you\u2019ll return home to your community with a passion for service, a renewed compassion for other people, and a fresh appreciation for your place and purpose in this world.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cBy transforming faith into ASP service, volunteers respond to a specific need - housing,\u201d say ASP organizers. \u201cBy putting aside their own needs and desires, ASP volunteers free themselves to share talent, love, and concern with the people of Appalachia and with one another. More important than construction know-how is a willingness to enter the communities and homes of Central Appalachia breaking down cultural, social, and economic barriers - accepting people right where they are and just the way they are.\u201d\r\n\r\nASP believes that \u201cGod calls people to serve others as volunteer partners in ministry and we will encourage their growth in faith as they answer this call.\u201d The theme for the ASP anniversary year comes from Isaiah 6:4\u2014\u201cWhom shall I send?\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cThis Christmas someone will be safer, warmer, drier because of Thrasher,\u201d said Crouch in presenting the certificate to the church.