In recognition of National Volunteer Awareness Month, we would like to acknowledge Lynn Parker as the second recipient of the Americans Helping Americans® – Helper of the Month award for April! Congratulations, Lynn!

Lynn Parker is a model volunteer leader for his family, his church, his community and has been active in county and state efforts as well. Working with our partner, Of One Accord Ministry in Hancock and Hawkins counties in Tennessee, Lynn demonstrates a positive, friendly, helpful and encouraging, and Christian character that is always outstanding.

After Lynn retired in 1998, he wanted to give back to his community. His Baptist Association was promoting the need for food pantries to serve a rising number of people experiencing emergency food needs. Of One Accord Ministry was operating a food pantry in Rogersville and Lynn asked if he could organize an effort to join with that ministry to open a food pantry in Church Hill.

After locating a 2,400 square foot office space, he had to organize an effort to pay for the expense of keeping the building open. By personally making contacts with churches in his community, he has kept the food pantry open paying all expenses for the last 20 years.

During that time, the food pantry has distributed approximately 5 million pounds of food to 160,00 people!

In addition, the need for a Free Medical Clinic arose and Lynn invited a doctor to use the back section of the food pantry. From that tiny space, doctors served 7,830 patients, giving 13,494 prescriptions 2,224 labs, free of charge, to people without jobs and without insurance for eight years. The clinic grew to find it’s own home which opened in mid-2008.

Emergency Service is operated by volunteers with one lady working 15 hrs a week to help with record–keeping. Lynn schedules to ensure some of the 100 volunteers are always on duty to serve those in need. They have to organize another volunteer effort to be at local grocery stores several days a week to pick up donated items for the food pantry. He coordinates efforts to give Christmas food boxes, which are beyond the normal program of Emergency Services and he coordinates efforts to keep the facility cleaned, all maintenance done and equipment in running order.

In the last couple of years, Lynn has raised money to hire a part time supervisor for Emergency Services to help share part of the responsibility of day to day duties.

Both Lynn and his wife Carolyn still volunteer several days a month interviewing clients and during his time there have logged in over 10,000 hours!

Additionally, Lynn has received numerous awards over the years which illustrate his exceptional character, exemplary skills as a role model, and service to the church.

Lynn Parker spends his free time on a family farm, he grew up on, in Webster Valley, outside Rogersville where he still raises beef cattle. This is where he calls God’s Country, and has a place there he calls “new ground” which is a back hollow that holds a special place to go meet God.

He has joined a friend to establish a new business, called Appalachian Resource which takes potentially dangerous commercial waste and disposes of it in a safe manner.

In many ways, we could not find a better choice for recognition than that of Lynn Parker.

The Helper of the Month Award is designed to show the amazing, wonderful, hard-working, and dedicated people in the Appalachian communities we serve every day. Each month, we’ll be sharing these stories with you in the hopes that you’ll walk away as inspired as we are to do good things in your community!