Murphy Harpst
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From Logs to Beds: Ellijay First UMC Crafts New Beds for Family Cottage


Members of Ellijay First United Methodist Church donated more than 200 man-hours and employed extraordinary craftsmanship in creating 12 beautiful beds for the boys in Family Cottage.  Learning of the need for the new beds in November 2009, Tom Lowery of Ellijay First contacted retired pastor David Autry of Trion, Georgia.  Pastor Autry said, “Yes!  I have some logs that should make nice lumber.  Give me your dimensions.”  By the following January, he and Ken Hooper had sawed 750 board feet of Red Oak, which they then planed into 2 inch dimension lumber.

After the drying process, their operation moved to a cabinet shop owned by Royce Hughes of Cartecay United Methodist Church near Ellijay.  Royce became the director of operations, and the following volunteers helped him on Monday and Wednesday mornings:  Howard Baker, Ross Evers, Tom Lowery, Bob Stephens, Lloyd Vautrot, and Jim Vines.  In November 2010, construction of the 12 beds was complete, and the operation moved to Tom Lowery’s shop, where the men applied stain and coats of finish.  Led by Bob Steif, a long-time volunteer at Ellijay First, the men delivered and assembled the beds at Murphy-Harpst on December 2.         

As the men were assembling the beds at Murphy-Harpst, Trina Purdy, the Leader of Family Cottage, sent a quick email to her supervisor, Karen Gibson, and President Joanne Simmons:  “They are installing the new beds and they are beautiful!!  They are also very heavy and sturdy and will last a very long time.  I can’t wait for the kids to get home; they are going to love it.”

Then, on December 5, women from the Joy Circle at Ellijay First delivered 38 beautiful handmade quilts for the beds!  They also donated 14 quilts for girls in Boykin Cottage. Meeting weekly, the ladies made enough quilts so that each child in the two cottages will be able to take a quilt when they leave Murphy-Harpst.  The church’s Noon Circle provided nearly 100 hygiene kits inside pretty handmade bags.

Led by Joan Compton, who organized the volunteers, and Patti Bell and Marsha Congdon, the ladies from Ellijay First had become good friends with the boys in Family Cottage, as they made 13 trips to paint bedroom walls as well as murals and stripes in each of the bedrooms.  On many of these trips, they brought exercise equipment, kitchen supplies, bedding, clothes, games, and books.