13 April 2012

Retirees keep school- and parish - in shape

The Quincy Herald-Whig has a good story today on "Austin's Army," a group of retired men in Quincy who see to the physical needs of St. Francis Solanus school in Quincy:
Austin's Army is a group of about 15 retirees who come to the school at 1720 College once a week to tackle whatever fix-it projects need to be done.  
These aren't ordinary volunteers, either. In many cases, they are skilled tradesmen willing to lend their expertise at no cost to help keep one of Quincy's Catholic institutions flourishing.  
"They have all kinds of skills," Principal Lee Hoffman said. "We've got plumbers, electricians, bricklayers, carpenters and others. It's phenomenal what they have done around here. They do everything."  
Every Monday morning, Hoffman produces a list of projects for Austin's Army to carry out that day. The group's leader, Tom Rakers, reviews the list and assigns members to different tasks. 
Then everybody gets busy [more].
In my home parish of St. John the Baptist which was about a mile or so away from St. Francis, we had a similar group of retired men who called themselves the Over the Hill Gang. Their service was invaluable!

I haven't encountered such a group outside of Quincy.  Do other parishes have similar groups?


  1. In their retirement years my grandfather and a good friend of his kept up the HVAC system and grounds of their parish. They are both commemorated by a plaque in the parish tool shed.

  2. My parish had a great group of retirees who took care of the grounds and did minor repair projects around the parish. Unfortunately, they have all gotten pretty up in years and the last guy had to cease helping out due to macular degeneration. It's a shame that more retirees don't get involved - it was great fellowship for the men and their help saved the parish quite a bit of money over the years.