Henry Idone Wins 2023 John Ward Award

Jesse Lee ASP is excited to announce that the winner of the 2023 John Ward “Love in Action” Scholarship Award is Henry Idone.

Henry is a recent graduate of Ridgefield High School and a 3-year participant of Appalachia Service Project.

Henry is involved in sports, playing hockey and tennis.  At RHS he played cello in the symphonic orchestra.  He also was part of the Future Business Leaders of America, the Math Team, the Investment Club and Music Mentors. 

In memory of his grandfather, Henry co-founded the Ridgefield Community Cello Ensemble to bring student cellists (from 7th to 12 grade) together to perform at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

This fall Henry will be attending Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts where he plans to study data science and business.   We are very pleased to present him with this award.

John Ward

The John Ward Love in Action Award was established by Jesse Lee ASP in 2017 to honor John Ward’s 30th Appalachia Service Project Trip. It is a $1000 grant given each year to a high school senior who has participated in ASP and dedicated themself to other forms of community service.

Winners of the John Ward Award have been:

  • 2023 – Henry Idone
  • 2022 – Parker Etzbach
  • 2021 – Kate Fleming
  • 2020 – Matt Carpenter
  • 2019 – Miles Tullo
  • 2018 – Gillian Retter
  • 2017 – Petros Papadopolous

174 JLASP Volunteers Repair Homes in Virginia

High-school students and adults from the Ridgefield area are on their annual Appalachia Service Project mission trip this week, with 174 volunteers working to make homes “warmer, safer and drier” in two counties in Virginia.

Based out of Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, Jesse Lee ASP is in its 39th year and is one of the largest local ASP groups in the country.

The 174 traveling volunteers departed early Saturday morning after a commissioning ceremony at Jesse Lee with family and friends. They split up, working this week in Wise and Dickenson counties in western Virginia. Crews of two adults and four students team up to repair, build or replace roofs, foundations, mobile-home underpinning and wheelchair ramps, while also developing relationships with the homes’ residents. They’re eating and sleeping in “centers” organized and operated in schools and churches by the national ASP organization.

Saturday’s departure celebration included recognition of 10 Ridgefield teens who have participated in ASP during all four years of high school. They are: Max Barlow, Sophie Browning, Maya Chauhan, Ryder Dadasovich, Caroline DelGiudice, Alex Doman, Kenny Muller, Matt Neligan, Henry Osher and Alex Prokopczyk.

Additionally, another recent RHS graduate, Hank Idone, was named the recipient of the John Ward Love in Action Award, a $1,000 scholarship established in 2017 that honors John Ward, who is in his 35th year of participating in Jesse Lee ASP. The scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior who has been on ASP at least once and who has committed to ongoing community service in other arenas besides ASP.

The ASP volunteers will return to Ridgefield in a long honking caravan on Sun., July 9 around 5 p.m. for a welcoming reception at Jesse Lee. For an updated time of return, watch the website www.jesseleeasp.org on Sunday afternoon.

Funds to support Jesse Lee ASP’s work were raised through car washes held at Jesse Lee on Saturdays this spring, from “stock” sold by participants, and through gifts from the Jesse Lee congregation.

Jesse Lee ASP will celebrate its 2023 work in two ways: with an ice cream social at the church on Sat., July 15 at 6:30 p.m. featuring a slide show of all the crews’ experiences; and a special Sunday-morning service at Jesse Lee on July 16 at 9:30 a.m. All are invited to both.

In addition to the volunteers working this week in Virginia, two Ridgefield women are working in Appalachia all summer as paid ASP staff members. Claire Dollins is program manager at ASP’s main center in Jonesville, VA, while Bella Lussi is finance coordinator in Breathitt County, KY. Their tasks include helping to evaluate applications from homeowners, stocking the “center” with tools and supplies, planning and overseeing home repairs, hosting and assisting the weekly teams of volunteers, and much more.

Appalachia Service Project is a national Christian volunteer organization whose participants make an annual weeklong mission trip where they work to make local folks’ homes “warmer, safer and drier.” Since its founding in 1969, more than 420,000 volunteers from across the nation have repaired 18,500 homes in central Appalachia.

Jesse Lee ASP is open to anyone who has completed their freshman year of high school.

For more information about the local Appalachia Service Project, call Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church at (203) 438-8791 or go to www.jesseleeasp.org.

ASP is Getting Ready

Jesse Lee Appalachia Service Project’s 2023 mission trip is two months away, and we are busy busy busy getting ready, with lots of planning and training.

We expect to have about 180 youth and adults traveling to two counties in Virginia July 1-9.

Quick refresher:  ASP is a national Christian volunteer organization founded by Rev. Glenn “Tex” Evans, a Methodist minister, in 1969. Since then, some 437,000 volunteers from across the nation have participated in weeklong mission trips to repair 19,000 homes in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina.

This is the 39th year for Jesse Lee ASP. 

It’s too late to sign up for the trip but you can still help by paying us to wash your car. Car washes are each Saturday in front of Jesse Lee, and funds raised will help us to rent a fleet of minivans to caravan everyone down to Appalachia and back. The vans also will be used daily by each work crew.

Additionally, Jesse Lee ASP gratefully accepts direct contributions toward the needed number of vans. Inquire at church with Deb Ahle, Steve Coppock or Peter Seirup.

Besides the car washes in May, you also may see weekend skills training in Jesse Lee’s back parking lot. Teen and adult volunteers – both those going down to Appalachia, as well as a smaller group volunteering for an “at-home” week of local home repairs – get hands-on practice using their tools while building wheelchair-ramp panels. These sessions give everyone some practical experience before we go, while also – a win-win situation – giving Jesse Lee’s Spirit Builders ready-made ramp sections when the call comes in for a needed wheelchair ramp.