Sometimes a little hope can go a long way. Williamsport resident Susan Best has witnessed the way hope can change lives. Susan became involved in Albright Care Services in 2006 when she joined the Albright Board of Trustees and served the maximum of three terms, totaling nine years. She had been recommended for the board after creating a program to keep seniors at her church socially engaged and because of her expertise as a former business owner. Together with her husband John, Sue also started the Williamsport District Volunteers In Mission (VIM) in 2008. The District has since grown to include 150 churches, whose members are all invited to participate in mission trips in the spring and fall, as well as engage in year-round, local mission work — endeavors which Sue and her husband lead.
VIM trips often involve rebuilding homes and lives after a disaster. Often, the group assists those who are incapable of completing the work themselves, or are unable to pay a contractor to do the work. Susan’s experience with mission trips began in 2005, when she volunteered to help clean up the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, traveling with the Altoona VIM group to Mississippi. That first mission trip experience was one she will never forget!
“I think what called to my husband, John, and me — the thing that hooked us — was walking into a home and seeing people with no hope,” Susan said. “People are so sad, they just hang their heads. After spending a few days with them, we watch as their heads lift. Then we see smiles and they might begin to hum. By the end of the week, we’ve provided them with hope.”
The weeklong mission trips bring that hope. Those being assisted are able to see an end to the disaster, thanks to the efforts of volunteers. “It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a week’s time, planting that seed of faith, by living with — not preaching at — those we help, and interacting as a team,” said Sue. “To see a life changed while we are there is much more important than the physical building projects we accomplish. The projects are simply a tool we use to share the love of Christ.”
Some of the places Susan has traveled include Georgia, Indiana, New Jersey, New York, and Haiti to provide help to those in need. Although Susan is no longer on Albright’s Board of Trustees, she continues her calling to help others. Most recently, Susan and her husband led 28 people to South Carolina to assist with four projects where flood waters had done great damage. Among the many tasks completed, the group rebuilt two roofs, gutted and rebuilt a bathroom, cleaned up seeping sewage, installed new floors and walls and refinished a kitchen and living room. They also took on an additional project by going to a men’s homeless shelter where they reorganized the food bank and spent time with the residents there.
Having been very involved in Albright LIFE Lycoming site when on Albright’s board, Sue took 60 unworn staff polo shirts with outdated logos and gave them to those in need. “We put the shirts on a railing so they were on display,” Sue said. “As the men came out of the building, they were so excited to see the shirts and have the opportunity to select one. They were all so thankful, especially one little boy who was there with his father. Many times we don’t realize what seeds we’ve planted. Other times we do. It was great to see their happiness.”
Although she completed her service on the Albright Board of Trustees last year, Sue continues to live out the mission of Albright Care Services through creating compassionate communities deeply rooted in serving others. That’s a mission close to her own heart. Susan is a shining example of being called to serve, and we are proud that she continues to be part of our Albright family.
Albright, celebrating 100 years of providing service in the Susquehanna Valley, invites you to continue your mission by joining us at one of our six locations. Visit www.albrightcare.org for information on senior living, day programs, volunteering or giving.