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.
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!Then everybody gets busy [more].
I haven't encountered such a group outside of Quincy. Do other parishes have similar groups?