The column that says when they give you a stress test with dye for a heart murmur, don’t you deserve a phone call from somebody with the results just as a courtesy, rather than make you wait until you see another specialist in June to find out everything is OK, and you can tell it’s not us or we would have been in the lab when the results were determined?
By Jack Hummel
Radio: 92.1 FM WVLT Saturdays noon to 2 p.m.
U.S. Army: RA13815980
Google all columns at jackhummelblog
Eatery runs out of placemats!
Film at 11 showing the emergency response.
Who knew C & J Electronics sells televisions?
Who knew Chris Jespersen was hiding his light under a bushel?
Hopewell Township ready to act on that $300,000+ grant to expand the municipal building? They’re cleaning up the lot next door.
We remember when they wanted Shiloh and one other municipality to hold their meetings in the proposed building.
We also remember when historian Bob Crowe wanted to,put his Bridgeton History Museum in part of the existing building.
All those videotapings that he and the Bridgeton Police Department did involving famous people in the area telling history lessons, and they’re still in somebody’s closet
Line at every custard stand in the county — plus Hudock’s — today.
With some customers wearing jackets. We love our ice cream!
Another dinner at DiLisi’s without waitress Katie Doodle.
A little voice told us, don’t go to the Roadhouse on a Saturday night if you expect to be entertained by the hierarchy. Wrong!
Everybody was working because they had held a meeting of the bosses that morning with a breakfast spread worthy of a Frank Sinatra thank you.
So the bosses all stayed for the dinner shift and Val showed us her latest furniture creations and how big her dog and her daughter’s dog are getting, and Josh swore he hasn’t visited a winery this month even though his wedding reception was at one, owner Andy corrected a salad mis-order by going right to the kitchen to retrieve a second small to make one large grilled chicken salad, and Jasmine showed us her new boyfriend with lit-up eyes and a smiling face.
And you really don’t care, do you?
Can Jorje Romero say the same about his paleo palace? Can Sam Feinstein detail Ye Olde Towne Tavern’s hierarchy such? By the way, the deed says that is the only name the Towne will officially be called.
Which is why it was not allowed to be changed to the Bat Cave when the comic strip pointed out Bridgeton as Gotham City on a map in the 1970s.
The owner, later City Councilman Doug VanSant, tried to change it.
David Price, the journalist, the teacher, the musician, the Washington, D.C., go-to man, but not the Red Sox pitcher, is still quoting every scholar he’s ever read that still got us where we are today despite their musings, so maybe we should start thinking for ourselves.
Maybe WE should start looking at inner cities as all our failures instead of curling up in a nice, safe bed with all the great writers.
Maybe WE should look beyond next door and the country club set to see what WE can do to improve the lot of all America.
All our journalistic life, we catered to the movers and shakers not knowing why or how they become the movers and shakers, but when he did learn why and how, we found out they were only using us, robbing us of our time on this earth, to further THEIR existence.
In David Price, we found raw courage to transform, despite the raw deal he got from the Bridgeton school system. It happens to all of us.
Testimony from someone who will never be published …
“Today was a really long …day. That being said, I worked at the Utility Expo today.
“I saw family after family coming in hoping they would get some much needed help. So many with the fear of disconnection or walking out with no more than they came in with.
“I watched people cry with joy and relief when they had their burdens lifted. As for my families that went, I could see the relief on their faces, the tears they cried. Some people never know what it’s like to have no heat when it’s 23 degrees or to run an extension cord to the neighbor’s house until you get paid.
“We have so many people here in Millville who are just trying to survive.
“Every week as I talk to people, as I go through the neighborhood, as I look around, I meet people who are hungry, take food to people who honestly have nothing in their refrigerator.
“I see kids with holes in their shoes, kids who have exactly five outfits for school.
“Every week, I meet someone with nowhere to live. We have unbelievable need. Our neighbors need us. We need to dig deeper, pray harder. We need to stop judging and start loving. We need to do more.
“This is not how it’s supposed to be. God did not create us to be so broken.
“We can all do something. Matthew 25:31-46: ‘Whatever you did for the least of these.’
Please pray. Pray for the least, the lost, the lonely. Pray for the Holy Spirit to flood the churches in Millville. For people to get out of their pew and into the community loving God’s people. Being the hands and feet of Christ. Pray and don’t stop praying.
“‘Allow your heart to be broken by the things that break the heart of God.’
— Richard Sterns, World Vision
“This quote has changed how I see things. Imagine what God feels when he sees His people suffer, when He sees us do nothing to help.
“What are you going to do? Imagine the difference we could make in Millville, if we turned to God, if we worked together, if we loved our neighbor.
“Imagine bringing the hope of Jesus Christ to the hopeless. Imagine being the church that we are called to be.”
— Shaun Connors,
Millville SHINE program
A little SHINE history
Nov. 3, 2011
And then there’s Keith Walters.
Who is Mr. Keith for our purposes.
He runs the SHINE program in Millville.\
Like most acronyms, nobody knows what it stands for.
But when they hear “SHINE,” they know it means kids.
And nobody is more passionate about kids than the man the young ones call Mr. Keith.
The passion is in his voice.
He can talk two straight hours about Millville Center City kids without a question being asked.
Without taking a breath.
He can name every kid in the program that started seven years ago when the Rev. Steve Shuster said to his First United Methodist congregation, “When are we going to take the light outside the church?”
This was not a mixed congregation.
But, it was right in the middle of the Center City neighborhood where some kids go to bed hungry.
Where some kids are watching their parents drive needles into their arms.
Where there is no tomorrow until we get through today.
And up stepped Mr. Keith.
He opened with South Woods State Prison being, “a waste of money.”
“It got me my captain’s badge. It got me my pension. But it was a waste of $280 million.”
He returned to Bayside Prison to make chief.
Guess who was at Bayside on that infamous New Year’s Day when an inmate yelled, “Bloods out!” and all hell broke loose.
“You have to fire somebody,” they told him when the smoke cleared.
“My men did some things wrong,” he told the brass, “but they did a lot of right things, too. Nobody got raped, nobody escaped and nobody got killed. I’m not going to fire anybody.”
It was while on vacation two weeks later that his wife convinced corrections officer Steve Walters (his real first name) to forget the long drive every day to Trenton and retire.
He had a year of sick time accumulated.
He’ll turn 50 soon.
That was the second thing to happen to align the stars to bring him to SHINE.
The first was finding Christ 15 years ago.
SHINE stands for Sharing Christ and Helping to Increase Neighborhood Excellence.
The church committee came up with the name.
The congregation bought into it.
As Mark 9:37 says, “Whosoever welcomes one of these children in my name, welcomes me.”
The volunteers signed up.
The money was donated.
The first summer camp was in 2005.
Joann Rieger guided the show, with Mr. Keith riding shotgun.
When she stepped down in 2008, he drove the wagon right through the heart of Center City.
“In my job, I saw the results of no nuclear family, the products of drug addiction.
“Our goal in corrections was survival — put your time in and hope nobody gets hurt or gets killed.
“These kids need to know that they’re important, that they’re special, that they can make a difference.
“I’m an optimist. I look at the glass half full in a world of half-empty people with half-empty solutions.”
He got a call from Iraq the other day.
It was one of the Eagle Scouts from his Boy Scout program that graduated from West Point.
“He said he was calling just to see how Mr. Keith was doing.”
It was Kyle Pernelli, from Troop 4.
“I know a dozen kids like him who are going to make a difference in this world. And it’s the same with these disadvantaged kids. Don’t give them a handout. Teach them how to fish rather than give them a fish.
“I talk a lot of religion because our program is Christ-centered.
“We’ve got the best coach in the world on our side.”
Melissa Sooy was in guidance all her life.
Kate Myers was a lawyer for children.
Joanne Rieger was a teacher.
The first summer camp was two weeks long.
It started out 2nd through 6th grade. Now it’s 2nd through high school.
Some will graduate high school this year.
“Then we decided we needed to do more, so we started a youth group. Then we started a tutoring program.”
By the third year, it was camp for two different age groups.
There were 112 kids in summer camp this year. Two weeks for each age group.
“I had 100 people wanting to volunteer.
“Not one attitude problem. If it looked like there would be one, they were sent to Mr. Keister (get it?) to get straightened out.”
Mr. Keith — or Keister — weighs 315 pounds and can bring his voice from his shoes.
“I’m a big Teddy bear. But I believe in accountability and I believe in expectations.”
He brought in convicted felons to give talks.
He has an in with the prosecutor.
He brings all of them in.
“We’re blessed because somebody underwrites our busing. That means we can take trips and it doesn’t cost us anything.”
They go swimming and bowling and to Cape May and to see plays.
“We’re huge with community service.”
Like Support the Troops.
“We’ve gotten a picture back from the war with our SHINE banner hanging on the USS Enterprise.
“We’ve gotten personal messages from the troops thanking us. It wasn’t so much the candy, but the fact the kids took the time to write personal messages.”
Kids being needed. Kids doing a job and getting thanked.
“Every year at summer camp, we go to Bethel AME and work the soup kitchen.
“We connect to Judy Kessler at Silver Run School. I don’t have to tell you about her. I’m preaching to the choir. But I love preaching to the choir. Judy has connections to all these kids.”
Mr. Keith was taking a kid home one night. He had gotten the kid a bike.
“All of a sudden, the kid sees two other kids with his bicycle. They were stealing it.”
So Mr. Keith pulled over and went to work.
“I’m so glad that you kids were looking after his bike. I know you were taking care of it until he got home. And I know you’re going to turn around and take it back to his house.
“‘Yeah, that’s right.’
“And, if you ever do need a bike, you come to that building over there with the clock tower (the church) and I’ll get you a bike.”
Every Monday and Wednesday, 20 kids show up for tutoring from a half-dozen teachers.
SHINE gave away 450 backpacks this summer.
And ice cream.
Everything is connected to a meal.
“One of the risks kids need to know coming into my program is they might put on a few pounds.”
He’s seen the worst.
“I’ve been in a home where the paramedics are there and the police are there and the people are overdosing and the kids are crying. Somebody is getting hauled off to jail, and the kids don’t know when they’re going to eat again.
“I’ve put people up in hotels.
“There’s a lot of craziness in this world and the kids are victims to this craziness.
“But they listen. We tell them you can do anything you want in this world. You just have to put your mind to it.”
A mother of three kids in the program was helping pick up trash.
“Why are you doing that?” a friend asked her. “Isn’t it embarrassing?”
“No,” she told her. “I’m cleaning up my neighborhood and I want my kids know what’s right.”
Pascale Sykes must love you.
“No, we missed the bus on that funding,” he revealed. “But we’re empowered by Christ. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
“There’s a breakdown in the families. Everybody wants a handout. Nobody wants to work.
“Money is not going to solve it.
“Parents have to start being parents.”
The congregation is building a school and an orphanage at the university in Haiti.
“The kids write back and forth to our kids. Our kids can learn from that. We all can. These kids have nuthin’.”
The congregation has paid for education in Haiti and a temporary shelter.
The goal in Millville is to have an effect on this generation and the next generation, and maybe an effect on the last generation.
The summer camp has gone through a transformation.
No discipline problems at either camp.
The church has also gone through a transformation.
Today, you’ll see a diversity.
“We’re in a risk zone. We’re challenging people to step up. That’s why we have so many volunteers. That’s why we have so many retired teachers coming in and volunteering their time.
“Kids are on a boat for the first time. They’re seeing a bald eagle for the first time.”
Scholarships are forthcoming.
The kids all have Mr. Keith’s cell phone number.
They have the numbers of other volunteers.
Remember the crazy house where the police, EMTs, overdosers and kids crying happened.
Mr. Keith and Joanne Rieger were there from one of those phone calls.
First United Methodist isn’t alone.
“Bethel and Charlie Wilkins are getting it done. A tremendous corporation. They educate. He feeds people.”
The ministerium has started an Adopt-a-Block program.
AHOME springs for the pizza at clean-ups.
“I’ve got pictures of my kids and the mayor picking up trash.”
The other day, he took one 14-year-old to Stewart’s Root Beer.
“We were drinking and I burped and he burped and he said, ‘Mr. Keith, I don’t get a chance to do this man stuff very often.’”
And then Steve Walters suffered a stroke that has put him on the SHINE sidelines, and you wonder why God let that happen until Shaun Connors grabbed the battle flag before it hit the ground and has taken it to new heights.
Because it is church-affiliated, SHINE does not qualify for government or even some private grants.
But it has flourished. Has it kept up with today’s drugs and crime in poor areas?
We’ll find out from Shaun Connors Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m., at 92.1 FM Cruisin’ WVLT.
“Before you pay top dollar for a ‘pure bred,’ please consider a rescue! Ask me for your request!”
— Gina Collini,
chip off the block of her mom, Cheryl Pace, whose premature death was a black hole for dogs needing rescue in Cumberland County.
A little Reva Christian history.
Feb. 22, 2010
“As a teenager in the late ‘60s, my friends and I would frequent the shops in downtown Bridgeton on Friday nights.
“My best friend, Terry Lourie, and I, after stopping at Wynette, Maxine’s, Smashey’s and so forth, would go to Dom’s Photo Shop to look at the beautiful portraits of local friends and families.
“As I was driving through town the other day, I again glanced at the window and, to my surprise, were several pictures of my daughter, Laurie Beth, and her newborn son, Christian.
“Who would have thought that, one day, I would be looking at my daughter and grandson in that window.
“Thanks, Dom’s Photo, for the memories and the beautiful work that you do.
“On another note, I really enjoy reading Joe Young’s articles of days gone by.
“I wish he would start a column of his own.
— Reva Christian
YOU CAN BOOK IT: What do you think now, Reva?