Memories of service trips to Elkhorn City

Left, a group of parishioners from the Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, Ky. visited Sister Margie Zureick at Salem Heights July 18. The parishioners worked with Sister Margie during service trips to her previous ministry at St. Joseph the Worker mission in Elkhorn City, Ky. From left standing, Bill Horn, Jeanne Horn, Renie Zimmerman, Ben Zimmerman, Deacon Bob Hart and Kathy Hart. Sitting, Sister Margie. Bottom, St. Joseph the Catholic worker closed in 2014.

There were plenty of laughs July 18 as several parishioners from the Church of the Annunciation in Shelbyville, Ky., visited Sis­ter Margie Zureick at Salem Heights in Dayton.

For much of the afternoon, the visitors reminisced about the service trips they made to St. Joseph the Worker Mission in Elkhorn City, Ky., where Sister Margie was pastoral associate. Several times a year for nearly a decade they would load up tools and sup­plies for the four-hour drive to Elkhorn City. Sister Margie was always waiting with a list of projects.

Over the next two or three days they would do every­thing from building a wall in someone’s home to fixing floors to helping clean the mission church. They even obtained a Braille machine for a blind woman who was a lec­tor at the mission. There was plenty of work, but also lots of socialization as they bond­ed with Sister Margie and the residents of Elkhorn City in one of the poorest corners of the state.

Sister Margie retired and moved to Dayton in 2014 and the mission church closed, but the memories of service trips to Elkhorn City came alive in the Salem Heights dining room.

Over a leisurely lunch, Sister Margie, who remains in con­tact with her former parishio­ners, shared the latest news. The group recalled some of their more back-breaking projects, like working on roofs. Chuckling, Ben Zimmerman remembered how during one project he and Sister Margie sneaked away to watch a Uni­versity of Kentucky basketball game on television. UK was losing, so Sister Margie put on a UK shirt and the Wildcats came back to win.

The visit ended with lots of hugs and a promise to stay in touch. Though Sister Margie has settled into a new chapter in life, her Kentucky roots are forever strong.

Story and photos by Dave Eck

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