We have members that serve their local police and sheriff departments in search and rescue operations, and some who ride bicycles hundreds of miles to raise money and awareness for the National MS Society. Others have interesting hobbies, like restoring classic American Muscle Cars or competing in marbles championships. These are all interesting stories that help demonstrate the diversity and commitment of excellence and charity that our members have and we want to hear more!
Our first member highlight is on Ray Franklin. Outside of working in the repossession industry, one of Ray’s many passions is working with the youth group at his local church, Liberty Baptist Church in Chelsea, Alabama. His group consists of 7th – 12th grade students and some college students who focus on doing various activities to help their local community, as well as abroad. For the past 5 summers, Ray and his church group have taken groups of students on week long mission trips to help churches in the local community, work children’s camps, do manual labor, and any other tasks that need to be done. They’ve been to Alaska, New York, California, and their most recent trip was to Oaxaca, Mexico!
Oaxaca is a very desolate area in Southern Mexico where poverty abounds. Very few inhabitants have running water or a true “house”. Most live in lean-to type sheds with dirt floors. Ray and his church group stayed at a missionary camp that provided activities for the local children in the summer and training for other missionaries during other parts of the year. Their purpose for visiting this area was to help the people of Oaxaca and to show them the love of Jesus.
Ray’s particular group hosted a sports camp for a group of village children. The children were of all ages, but were all eager to learn and play – they played football, basketball, and soccer and the children loved it! Due to the language barrier, there was a translator to help with the activities. But Ray found that no translator was needed when a child took his hand and smiled because they just wanted to be with him all day. He says it was a very humbling, yet rewarding experience and has forged bonds with the people of Oaxaca that will never be broken. Ray hopes to go back to Oaxaca one day to see some of those same children again.
We are truly honored to have such a passionate advocate in our membership. May Ray’s story be an inspiration to you all!
Do you have an exciting hobby or are involved in raising money or awareness for a worthy cause? Please help us by submitting pictures and stories of those who deserve some recognition or those who are involved in projects of interest. We’d love to hear from you – submit your interesting stories and photos to email@example.com.
Ray Franklin is an ARA member in Mobile, Alabama.