Mending Milligan – It’s a labor of love as former students, parents, others come from afar for annual spruce-up of college campus

By Rex Barber
Johnson City Press 

From left, Ed Hugunin, Barney Barnett and Petie Case work on the gazebo at Milligan College. (Ron Campbell / Johnson City Press)


MILLIGAN COLLEGE — It takes work to keep up the beauty of a campus like Milligan College.

And alumni, parents of alumni and others take up the task of doing whatever they can once a year, said Milligan’s first lady, Clarinda Jeanes. The school’s annual Restoration Crew project began Monday and continues through Friday. The group of about 20 will be doing landscaping, carpentry, painting and cleaning. This year’s big project is the restoration of Milligan’s landmark gazebo.

“Some have had children here, some just because they believe in Christian education and Milligan College, they come,” Jeanes said of the project’s participants.

Those who came to work hail from Kentucky, Maryland, Indiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and locally. The project was instituted about 10 years ago.

“There was a need,” Jeanes said of the project. “When my husband came as president there was a need for things to be done. And money was an issue. They really accomplish so much. It really helps us out each year. And they really have all become friends. I think that’s why they came back year after year.”

One of the keys to the success of the Restoration Crew is having a person like Frank Jarrett, Jeanes said. Jarrett is a local retired contractor who pretty much supervises all the work being done. He was busy sawing pieces of board to repair the gazebo Tuesday.

“Usually we’ll have 20, 30 people show up for this every year,” Jarrett said. “Some of them have been back … anywhere from two or three years to eight or 10 years, most of this crew have. We enjoy it. Good fellowship, you know. And it’s something we can do to help the college.”

Wendy Patrick, Columbia, S.C., and Diana Combs, Jersey Shore, Pa., attended Milligan together and were friends. They are both retired now and use the annual event as a reunion.

“We both met our husbands here and our husbands were the best of friends,” Patrick said.

Patrick and Combs were painting a room on one of the campus buildings Tuesday. That was the job they really wanted.

“Oh I’m a painter. I’m not into cleaning. I do enough of that at home,” Patrick said jokingly.

The women look forward to the event each year.

“I knew that just as soon as I retired, I would get to come. And I won’t miss it again,” Patrick said. “It’s been so wonderful.”

Combs agreed, saying it is a good opportunity to visit and give back to their alma mater.

“We haven’t been able to see each other because where I live, it’s in the middle of nowhere, and you really can’t get there from here,” Combs said. “I just love coming and giving back to Milligan because Milligan gave me so much. I just can’t give Milligan a lot of money but I can sweat.”

Johnson City Press Article

Posted by on July 30, 2008.