Wearing light blue medical scrubs and a mask, Texas Air National Guard Tech Sgt. Rabare Faison of El Paso approached the Chipster’s Grill trailer Tuesday outside the Senior Care Nursing Home in Brownwood.
Lunch was being served, thanks to the efforts of Chipster’s Grill, United Supermarket and several members of North Lake Community Church who gathered around serving tables.
Faison, a medic, asked how much he owed for lunch.
Nothing, pastor Ron Keener replied.
Lunch was served at no charge to the Air National Guard members and representatives of other agencies who were at the nursing home to do COVID tests on the nursing home’s residents and staff.
Lunch was also served to staff members who came outside, chatted with the church group and took plates of barbecue lunches back inside.
North Lake Community Church underwrote the lunch from its Helping Hands fund. United Supermarkets donated supplies and additional food.
“You all just come this way!” Keener called out more than once.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has directed that all residents and staff of nursing homes be tested for COVID.
Keener said Brown County Judge Paul Lilly had asked the church to provide a meal Tuesday for the Texas Air National Guard members who were doing the testing.
“We jumped at the opportunity to come do this through two of our members, Chip and Karen Barker, who have Chipster’s, and United Supermarket, who donated a lot of these supplies for today,” Keener said.
“It’s another ministry opportunity. It’s what we’re all about at North Lake — the hands and feet of Jesus. Life is not over. There’s hope through all this. There’s good through all this. We’re (God’s) ambassadors doing this. We minister to this place all the time, and when they went on lockdown we haven’t been able to do that. Some of us here have family members in there and they haven’t been able to see them since this happened.”
Barker said, “We love our community. I’ve always wanted what I’ve done, as a whole, to be a ministry for God. Because God is what’s got us here.”
Senior Care administrator Josie Pebsworth said representatives of the Texas Emergency Management Department and Emergency Medical Task Force were also present at the nursing home.
“We’re doing great,” Pebsworth said. “We’re troopers. Everybody has been wonderful, the staff, the families, very supportive, and of course Chipsters is actually one of our family members.
“This is what community is all about. The men and women that are doing the testing have been extremely gracious.”