Reba’s Heroes: A Series Highlighting Our Wonderful Volunteers
Due to COVID 19, we had to cancel our annual volunteer luncheon that we hold to honor our amazing volunteers! In our effort to cover the many aspects of volunteering at Reba’s Ranch House we found a plethora of wonderful stories. In the coming months, we will cover the many ways to volunteer at Reba’s Ranch House. Read some of our 28 years worth of stories and see if you are visualizing yourself joining these beautiful souls giving their time and love to those who need it. Remember: Studies show that volunteers stay healthier, are more active, and live longer with more productive lives. We are here and would love to talk to you about volunteering and we always need a volunteer somewhere!
Thank you so much for reading our stories and going through this unexpected year holding us close to your heart. Thank you, Thank you! We are here and will continue to be here while we find our new normal!
May the Lord bless you, and hold you close to His heart.
Reba’s Ranch House Director Marilyn Bice
Hot Meals, Snacks, & Love
Hundreds of people have taken part in our meal ministry program from churches with decades-long commitments to the ranch house. 89-year-old Wyota Hannon witnessed the grand opening of Reba’s Ranch House in 1992 and was one of the earliest volunteers.
“My husband, James, was always so helpful,” she says. “He would make a big pot of stew and bring it over to the ranch house. We would eat a meal with all the people there with their families. We started setting up with churches to do monthly meals. We had several churches that participated. There are a lot of good people out there.”
Wyota worked in an emergency room in Denison for 15 years, and James, her husband of 72 years, also worked in Denison. She began volunteering at the ranch house, dedicating her time for 12 years. After retirement and settling in Colbert, Oklahoma, Wyota had turned fully to volunteering.
“We had people that would come to me and say, ‘Is there anything that we can do?’” she recalls. “‘We know families are there, stranded, and we want to do something.’ I suggested people do a meal once in a while, and I started contacting churches. I made up a little schedule. It worked well, and something that was really fulfilling to me to do.”
Twelve local churches support the meal ministry program at Reba’s Ranch House. Though the COVID-19 shutdown restrictions prevent them from offering full meals, churches like Trinity Lighthouse Church still bring snacks, frozen breakfast and fruit combos, and bottled drinks to keep the guests supplied with easy-access food.
Deena Steen is the ministry coordinator at Trinity Lighthouse Church. She began volunteering when churches in the area were invited to participate in the meal ministry after the ranch house opened. Since then, until the time of the shutdown, Deena made sure hot meals were at the house every Friday.
“The first director [of the ranch house] was Barbara Points, and she was a very personable young woman,” Deena says. “I visited with her many times whenever I would take food over, and see the vision and the heart she had for the families. I could put myself in those families’ shoes, especially if they were from out of town.”
Trinity Lighthouse has retained some of the volunteers from the original group who stayed faithful in their commitment for nearly 30 years. Deena is also seeing an increase in younger women joining the program, and men as well. Their pastor, Raymond England, is a strong supporter of the team that serves RRH, always willing to promote the need for volunteers.
“I’m never short on volunteers,” she says. “Before COVID, we had fifty-six women on a rotation basis. If I ever lost one for whatever reason, all I had to do was put a notice in the bulletin that we needed volunteers for Reba’s Ranch House. The slots would instantly be filled because of what the ranch house represents to people. So many of the members have needed their services.
“I feel we’re an extension of Trinity Lighthouse into the community, being arms and legs to serve hurting people. The ministry of Reba’s has been a joy for the people that do it. They all say that it’s a ministry that touches their heart.”
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