Jesse Lee Church’s Appalachia Service Project — “ASP” as it’s known — was unable to travel to Appalachia this summer, but the home-repair organization still honored 11 recent Ridgefield High School graduates for their four years of participation.

The local Appalachia Service Project group, based at Jesse Lee Memorial United Methodist Church, had its 37th year suspended this spring because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, registration and orientation meetings already had begun in February, with some 280 volunteers starting the preparations for the annual mission trip that was to occur ear-lier this month.

In a socially distanced ceremony on July 24, Jesse Lee ASP honored these seniors for participating during all four years of high school: Matt Carpenter, Emily Carr-Lonoff, Marie Condron, Alexandra Kinkead, Clodagh Ryan, Sarah Scheck, Olivia Seal, Tim Sganga, Ryan Sierakowski, Chiara Signorelli and Lauren Thompson.

Additionally, Carpenter was named recipient of the John Ward Love in Action Award, a $1,000 scholarship 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. Established in 2017, the award’s namesake - a Jesse Lee church member - has participated in Jesse Lee ASP for 33 years.

Appalachia Service Project is a national Christian organization that provides volunteer home repair in West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and North Carolina. Since its founding in 1969, more than 410,000 volunteers from across the nation have repaired 18,300 homes in central Appalachia.

Unfortunately, ASP had to cancel its entire 2020 summer program, unable to respond to some 6,000 homeowners who applied for critical repairs.

Jesse Lee ASP, which has grown to become the second-largest local ASP organization in the U.S., hopes to announce details about its 2021 mission trip early next year. Participation is open to anyone who has completed their freshman year of high school. Watch for details at www.jesseleeasp.org.