The Joe Mertz Center at Huntington University acquired a new van on Thursday, Dec. 20.
Through four years of fund-raising efforts, the JMC raised $3,100 toward its goal. With a $3,500 gift from Tom Ahl Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep in Lima, OH, the group purchased a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country minivan from the dealership.
The dealership is owned by Tom Ahl, father of 2007 HU graduate Mindi Ahl.
"This van is a huge answer to prayer, one I have been praying for since my arrival in 2008," said Grace McBrayer, director of volunteer service and outreach ministry. "We believe the Lord is blessing us with a safer, newer van that will allow us to continue our ministries. We are incredibly grateful to the Ahls for their generous donation."
Since the founding of the JMC 20 years ago, students have used a 1992 Ford Aerostar for transportation to service projects in the surrounding communities. Four years ago, fund-raising efforts began to replace the van with a more reliable vehicle.
Because of the wear and tear on the Aerostar, the JMC was only able to use the van for short trips to Fort Wayne and around the Huntington community.
"Receiving this newer van means we will be able to continue our ministry in the communities of Huntington, Fort Wayne and now beyond," McBrayer said. "It allows us to transport supplies and tools for work days, help with food and clothing drives, and provide for other various needs. Without this van, hours of volunteer service every week would not be happening."
The Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service is a student-directed organization that mobilizes the campus community for Christian service.
"HU has a strong commitment to serving the surrounding communities," McBrayer said. "The JMC is just one way in which students, faculty and staff are able serve in the Huntington and Fort Wayne areas."
Mindi Ahl (second from left), 2007 Huntington University graduate and business manager at Tom Ahl Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep in Lima, OH, and Tom Ahl (third from left), owner of the dealership, present van keys to Grace McBrayer (right), director of volunteer service and outreach ministry at HU's Joe Mertz Center, and Pete Schownir, director of gift planning at HU.