Volunteers invest in Shaw’s oldest building

Volunteers helped clean up the Friendship Chapel.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Shayne Welsh, 28th Operational Weather Squadron weather forecaster and event coordinator, sweeps a walkway to the Friendship Chapel during a chapel cleanup at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 29, 2017. Welsh gathered volunteers for the cleanup to help the Chaplain Corps maintain the facility, which is the oldest building on Shaw AFB. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

Volunteers helped clean up the Friendship Chapel.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Michael Vazquez, 20th Communications Squadron computer technician, left, puts a pile of debris in a trash bag while Airman 1st Class Michael Silverand, 28th Operational Weather Squadron weather forecaster, rakes debris into a pile during a Friendship Chapel cleanup at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 29, 2017. During the cleanup, Airmen from across base worked together to pick up debris, pressure wash the walls and trim hedges around the oldest building on base. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

Volunteers helped clean up the Friendship Chapel.

U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Mario Garza, 20th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron avionics specialist, left, pressure washes concrete while Airman 1st Class Shayne Welsh, 28th Operational Weather Squadron weather forecaster and event coordinator, puts debris into a trash bag during a Friendship Chapel cleanup at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Aug. 29, 2017. Team Shaw members use the Friendship Chapel, built in 1941, for religious services, weddings and celebrations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Destinee Sweeney)

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Volunteers from around base worked together to clean up the Friendship Chapel, Aug. 29.

The Friendship Chapel is located on Shaw Drive and provides a space for the community to host religious services, weddings and celebrations. Built in 1941, it is the oldest building on base.

Airman 1st Class Shayne Welsh, 28th Operational Weather Squadron weather forecaster, coordinated the project after noticing debris on the property.

“The Friendship Chapel is the main thing you see coming in and out of the main gate,” said Welsh, who also said having a good-looking base helps promote morale.

Welsh also said a lot of people see the Chapel while attending daily mass.

Nine volunteers bagged debris, pressure washed the building, and trimmed bushes for approximately four hours, clearing nearly 650 pounds of waste.

“It’s important to take ownership of the base,” said Senior Airman Joshua Spurlock, 28th OWS weather forecaster and one of the volunteers. “As well as (Shaw) being where we work, it’s a place that provides a lot of services to us. I feel like we owe it to take care of it: it’s our home, it’s somewhere we need to work, it’s somewhere we’ll be and see people.”

Tech. Sgt. Aimee Roth, 20th Fighter Wing Chaplain Corps chapel operations NCO in charge, said it is nice to see people volunteering to help.

“It makes my heart happy,” said Roth. “We work there, our name is ‘on the mailbox,’ and we want it to look good, but at the same time we have other responsibilities. While trying to prioritize those responsibilities it’s so refreshing to have someone else step in and help you, especially since these buildings are for the entire base. Everybody uses them, and we want them to be a tool that people can use that isn’t rusty on the outside.”

By investing their time in maintaining community resources, the volunteers took initiative and demonstrated ownership to ensure the Friendship Chapel will continue to serve as a space for community gatherings.