Hope City is successful because of how we mobilize volunteers and work with local communities to get people home. Not every volunteer team is a large group. This week, Hope City in Middletown was lucky enough to host the Tanquists, Roger and Mardel. The two of them have been volunteering and working across the country for nearly 30 years. Let’s see what drives them and what they can share with others who want to be a part of Rebuilding Homes, and Restoring Lives.

The Tanquists met at a camp in Washington, where Mardel was a secretary and Roger had come to volunteer. He grinned as he remembered trying to work extra hard to impress Mardell. For Mardel, her heart for volunteering was ignited during Hurricane Andrew. She and her first husband had been camping in Pennsylvania when the storm hit, and they heard of a need for volunteers who could help wrangle the other volunteers. She managed over 3,000 volunteers and a camp of 40ft tents where volunteers would spend their one week of vacation to come help others. She was in awe of all of these people who answered the call to serve others. “I want to try and help from now on,” Mardel said.

While in Middletown, the Tanquists have had the pleasure to work with our AmeriCorps team. Something we pride ourselves on at Hope City is our partnership with AmeriCorps, and part of that extends to how they interact with our volunteer teams. Having a couple like the Tanquists share their hearts, their experiences, and most importantly the needs they’ve seen fulfilled, gives our teams more perspective and hopefully a chance to think about their life beyond AmeriCorps.

Roger and Mardel have approached every task asked of them with gusto, even if they don’t feel they’re up to it. In speaking of our site supervisors, Roger said they, “Give us jobs I wouldn’t dare do on my own, but they say ‘Go at it!’ And show us how to do it.” The two of them were full of smiles and joy thinking about the work they’ve accomplished and how happy the homeowner has been at the progress during their time here. Mardel said, “It’s such a joy to come down and see [the homeowner] just beam as things come together.”

There is still a great need here in Northern California. A need for financial support for fire survivors and a need at our Hope City rebuilding camps for volunteers. The Tanquists will be taking their stories from Middletown back with them, but we wanted to know what they’d like others to know about their experiences here. “[There is] no better thing to do with your life than to come down and help somebody. The joy is ours to help someone have a smile instead of a struggle,” Mardel said.

At Hope City our mission is Rebuilding Homes, and Restoring Lives. The Tanquists understand what that can look like, and we want to invite you and your church team or civic group to consider being a part of our mission here in Northern California. To book your trip, contact Travis at [email protected] or call him at 574-333-7728. There is much work to be done, and we can’t wait for you to join us.