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They love helping

January 15, 2006|By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WASHINGTON COUNTY -

Some vacation!

Sixteen hours in a car, sleeping on an air mattress on the floor, eating plain jelly sandwiches after the peanut butter disappeared, all the while doing back-breaking chores from sunrise to sunset for eight days.

Now that those young adults from Tri-State Fellowship are back home in Hagerstown, they can't wait to turn around and head back to the Gulf Coast for another go at hurricane cleanup.

"All of us are going back," said Julie Horst, wife of Arnold Horst, who facilitated the two teams from the Cearfoss-area church in spending the first eight days of 2006 in Covington, La., which was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina.

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The January excursion was the church's first mission trip for the young adults - beyond high school - age group. The timing allowed college students go over their semester breaks.

One of the two teams was an extended family composed of the Horsts, their three newly married children and their spouses.

The second team included Adam Donius; his wife, Jennifer, and her sister, Jessica Spruill; Beth Tremmel; Bryan "Boh" Nichols; Lori and Emily Bjorndal; Rachel Vickers; Eric and Sean Jernigan; and Catherine Pulieri.

The seed for the trips was planted by the Horsts, whose business is transporting trailers to different parts of the country.

"I suggested to the young adults class that we do something to help these people through the church," Arnold Horst said.

The idea spread quickly within the Horst family, prompting daughter Laura Horst Blair and her husband, Justin, to sign on. Soon, Lisa Horst Bingaman and her husband, Chad, were on board, as were Randy Horst and his wife, Jen.

"We have another daughter, Karla Horst, 22, who is currently in the middle of a six-month mission trip in Australia and Egypt," Julie Horst said.

The local teams made a connection with Trinity Church in Covington, which like Tri-State Fellowship is affiliated with the Evangelical Free Churches of America.

"We stayed in the church and they fed us, too," Arnold Horst said. They didn't have to pay anything, but future groups will have to because it is becoming so expensive.

The efforts of Trinity were very organized. Each morning at 6, the teams would get their work orders for that day and the tools needed to complete the tasks. Then at 6:30 p.m., the teams would gather at the church for dinner.

"The amount of work that needed to be done was incredible," Tremmel said. An art teacher at Fountain Rock Elementary School, Tremmel said she never had seen anything so devastating.

Adam Donius said he and his wife already had been planning a mission trip to Central America through Tri-State Fellowship when they decided to focus instead on the Gulf Coast.

Spruill said she and other team members ventured to the French Quarter and found a lot of restaurants still hadn't reopened since August.

"Others were open, but their menus were way down in the number of selections," she said.

Return trips already are planned for February, March and April, Arnold Horst said.

"There are between 90 and 100 people at Trinity from all over the country each week," he said.

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