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Living 50-Plus – The God Squad: ‘We’re more than friends, we’re family’

Members of the God Squad donned their T-shirts and entertained residents at Shirkey Nursing & Rehabilitation Center on March 16. Front row, from left are: Peggy Sturgeon, Pauline Hess, Ollie Williamson, John Paul, Peggy Heddins, Carolyn Durbin, Jo Ann O’Dell, Nancy Rosa and the late Helen Wiehmeir. Standing are: Iris Kallenberger, Lola Caylor, Rochelle Newham, Nonie Clemenson, Dotty Calvert, Anita Covey, Dot Dehn, Charles Cassity, Ileen Downing and Dean Rosa. (Photo by Bob Russell)

By Liz Johnson, Staff Writer

It all began 15 years ago with the idea to minister to those in nursing homes. What has truly happened is the seniors have been ministering to the ministers.

So it is with the God Squad, a group of people from multiple denominations who gather and take their show on the road to nursing homes and assisted living facilities around Ray, Caldwell, Clay and Lafayette counties.

The beginning

Years ago, Brother Harold Martin, of Henrietta, was asked to pastor a church in Hickory Grove. After moving there, Martin, his wife and his mother in-law realized how much they missed the Sunshine Seniors, a program that involved ministering to seniors. The Martins decided to create a new group to minister to those in nursing homes.

The God Squad was born out of that original idea and chartered at its first meeting April 12, 2002, in the basement of the Richmond Salvation Army building.

“We just put the word out that we were going to have a meeting,” Martin said. “I explained to the group what I wanted to do and why, and so we got together. We chose the name that stuck with us, the God Squad.”

The first official God Squad meeting was May 10, 2002, in the Salvation Army community room at noon. It was a carry-in luncheon. Martin said they didn’t have any trouble finding nursing homes willing to have the God Squad come out and entertain the seniors.

“We put together a program, and it just mushroomed from there,” Martin said.

The complete story is in the Friday, April 7, 2017 Richmond News.

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