Father Greg Nevlud, of St. James Catholic Church, celebrates the congregation's collection of 550 smoke alarms for the Seguin Fire/EMS Department.
(Seguin) -- A local congregation has again pulled together to not only protect but to help save lives of those beyond its church walls. St. James Catholic Church recently collected 550 smoke alarms for the Seguin Fire/EMS Department. A successful collection drive is no unique thing for the local church. St. James, last year, with the leadership of Father Greg Nevlud, helped to collect hundreds of fans and cash for the department's annual summer fan drive.
Father Nevlud says he felt the smoke alarms were a good way to protect families all year long.
"I called and I said you know Greg, the fan drive was really a success and I"m just reaching out to you to see if there's anything else that we could help with your work in the community and I actually said 'what about smoke alarms?' and he said 'oh my gosh, smoke alarms would be an incredible gift and so I just said, tell me what you want. He said I want First Alerts and with that, it just took off and I brought it to the people and after the first weekend, we had over 100 and people were bringing them in. Some people were bringing 12, 24, 50 at a time. I mean it was just amazing and once we reached, 550, I said here in St. James we weren't going to collect but if anybody from the community wants to they can," said Nevlud.
Nevlud says it's important that his church community reach out to others. He says a community is a community.
"I just believe that a church community should partner with the bigger community and basically, our ministry extends beyond the four walls of the church and beyond this property and that if we find a need in the community that we do our best to respond to it. It wasn't a religious campaign but it was a personal campaign and I know that people -- they sent notes with their smoke alarms saying what a wonderful idea and how great it is to know that St. James is reaching out beyond just us," said Nevlud.
Nevlud says he remains in awe of how quickly congregation members mobilized to make this happen. He says the original goal was 300 but after one week of collecting over 100, he knew that had to increase the challenge to 500.
"It shows their commitment to making the community a better place for those in need. It speaks about their incredible generosity that all I have to do is put a need out there and they are going to respond. Father Dennis and I have an incredible relationship with the people in the pews and I know they love what we are doing. But we love what they are doing and it is not just us versus them. It is a collaborative effort and when we speak of St. James, we are speaking not only of the ordained ministry but everyone who is a part of this and their response is just always so unbelievable," said Nevlud.
The donation of smoke alarms will be handed over to the Seguin Fire/EMS Department during a brief ceremonial event scheduled right before this Sunday's 10:15 a.m. mass.
Until then, donations of smoke detectors will continue to be collected at the church office located at 510 S. Camp St.