Church’s volunteer service impacts community

As part of Hope Christian Church’s Impact Day, several members of the church painted a Veterans Day themed mural on the Edward Jones building in Waterloo on Main Street. Pictured, from left, are Tom Schrieber and Barb Schrieber with Dustin and Lukas Becker. (submitted photo)

Hope Christian Church Ministry Associate Carol Turnquist glows when she thinks about the service projects volunteers completed during the church’s annual Impact Day.

On Oct. 29, more than 100 people endured the harsh fall weather to accomplish about 25 meaningful projects.

“I can’t say enough for the helpers. Anyone who serves in that capacity is amazing,” said Turnquist, who coordinates Impact Day. 

The area volunteers covered included Millstadt, Waterloo, Columbia, Red Bud and Dupo. Turnquist said she reached out to the village of Valmeyer but no projects became available.

However, volunteers seized many powerful opportunities ranging from landscaping private homes and senior care facilities to painting the Waterloo Santa Hut, spending time with senior citizens in the community, and painting another mural on the Edward Jones building on Main Street in Waterloo.

“There was a gentleman who contacted me (after Impact Day). He was a disabled man and we did a project for him,” Turnquist said. “I had goosebumps. He said they went above and beyond what they ever expected.”

Yet another recipient of Hope’s goodwill, Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith said he is more than pleased with the new mural on the Edward Jones building.

“I love it. I think it turned out great,” he said. “I’d seen the flag at the (Waterloo VFW) and I took a picture of it and sent it to the church for them to do it.”

The mural is a depiction of the famed scene on Iwo Jima during World War II in which soldiers worked to hoist a flag on the Japanese island to claim it as a staging area for U.S. troops. Behind the creation of the mural is Barb Schrieber, who is both an art teacher and professional artist.

Barb began with the outline of the painting before her husband, Tom, and two other volunteers helped fill in the silhouettes. 

In 2016, Elaine and John Polizzi of Waterloo created the first patriotic display on the building that included the American flag with soldiers marching on a battlefield in the foreground. 

Barb then painted a mural of a soldier kneeling at a fallen comrade’s grave and a little boy waving the American flag later in the year.

“I thought (the WWII mural) turned out really cool,” Tom Schrieber said. “The way this photo almost blends in with the soil is really cool because Iwo Jima was very rocky and had no grass so it gives it a more realistic feel.”

Incidentally, when Smith asked Barb to paint the WWII mural, he didn’t realize that Tom Schrieber would draw special meaning from the artwork. 

Tom Schrieber’s father, the late Carl Schrieber, served in the Coast Guard in the war for nearly three years and was assigned to one of the Landing Ship Tanks used in the attack on Iwo Jima.

“There were 120 Marines on board the LST, and to his knowledge they all perished in the first wave,” Tom Schrieber said of his dad. “He never talked about it much until we started going to his ship reunions.”

The Battle of Iwo Jima took place March 26, 1945, becoming one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific War of World War II. Smith said he may look for another painting to go on the wall depending on what he can find.

“I have to see the right thing to go there,” he said.  

Impact Day began in 2014, serving only Columbia, Red Bud and Waterloo at the time. Turnquist said volunteers continue to benefit greatly from the opportunity, in addition to the people they help.

“What we like is the impact this has in the community, but also the relationships that are built within the groups of people that are serving as well,” she said.

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