A mission trip to rural Appalachia motivates one rep to devote his free time to helping others in need.
When Joe Lubisco agreed to chaperone a mission trip to rural Appalachia eight years ago, he never dreamed it would “ignite a passion” for him to continue serving others in the years to come. “A fellow church member asked me to attend as a chaperone on an upcoming youth mission trip,” he recalls. “He thought I would be able to connect with the youth on their level. And, I have a heart for helping others and had always wanted to participate in this type of activity.” So, Lubisco joined the Appalachia Service Project to help families in need living in rural parts of Appalachia. His group partnered with other church missions to assist with home repairs and youth guidance, among other things.
“I was amazed to be among [nearly] 70 youths who had given up a week of their summer vacation to help others in need,” says Lubisco. “From that point on, I made a commitment to help each year on a mission project.” Indeed, over the next several years he participated in a number of missions, including helping restore and remodel a home in North Carolina with the United Methodist Committee on Relief and traveling to Louisiana with Epworth Ministries to install insulation in homes affected by Hurricane Katrina.
It wasn’t until four years later that he realized how close to home some of that need was. “I realized that our own community needed help,” he says, recalling how this led him to help organize a local ministry, B.A.S.H. (Be About Serving Him). “The church youth director and I visited the mayor and a senator to get their approval to start the program in our county,” he explains. “After approval, we completed the necessary paperwork and teamed up with the Morgan County Volunteer Center to [narrow down] the specific needs of our community.” They raised – and continue to raise – the necessary funds through local businesses, church donations and an annual yard sale.
“B.A.S.H. is a volunteer service opportunity to repair homes in the Morgan County area,” says Lubisco, whose church hosts the weeklong event. He helps facilitate and plan the activities through:
- Locating task assignments through the Morgan Country Volunteer Center.
- Creating “work teams” and tracking the number of participants available to help out on each of the teams.
- Planning for additional volunteers available to help support the teams of workers.
- Delegating all other responsibilities, such as food preparation, youth activities, devotionals and more.
Over the last four years, B.A.S.H. team members have helped local citizens by building wheelchair ramps, painting and repairing homes, providing yard work services, feeding the homeless at the church co-op and visiting nursing homes. Volunteers vary from year to year, depending on which nearby churches elect to participate. Lubisco’s wife, Patti, has helped out, as well as his 7-year-old son, Joey.
A huge impact
It appears that B.A.S.H. is only the beginning for Lubisco. Through B.A.S.H., his group began working with Lexi House, a faith-based, nondenominational ministry founded in 2004 to help women and children in need. “After helping with Lexi House [in 2009] through our B.A.S.H. efforts, I realized that [in the short time it had been open] Lexi House had helped over 300 women and their children get back on track by lending a helping hand as opposed to a handout,” he says.
“The stories of those women made a huge impact on me,” Lubisco continues. “I developed a close friendship with the founder of Lexi House and eventually joined the Lexi House board of directors, a group of volunteers who help with fundraising and support efforts to keep Lexi House and its ministry available to women and children in our community.” He looks forward to helping plan the group’s annual fishing and golf tournament fundraiser, as well as its Christmas banquet.
In addition, Lubisco continues to plan future B.A.S.H events. “We will continue to build wheelchair ramps when the need arises,” he says. “We [are also planning to] volunteer to help with tornado recovery efforts in Alabama.” And, if the opportunity ever arises, he hopes to take his home restoration talents to network television! “I have a personal goal to be a volunteer on the program, Extreme Home Makeovers,” he says. “I love the show and the sponsors, volunteers and families in need.”
A leap of faith
About 10 years ago, Lubisco and his wife, Patti, decided to change the direction of their careers and together founded JPL Medical Solutions Inc., a manufacturer rep company. “I previously had worked as a national sales manager in advertising sales,” he says. “With the help of a friend, I [transitioned] into the medical sales industry. After a couple of years, I began to realize the importance of becoming a manufacturer’s rep. I had established many contacts in the industry, and with Patti’s help, took a leap of faith and became a representative for several independent product lines.” It was the right decision, he adds, noting the company has had continuous growth through the years.
Though a small company, it boasts big talent, he points out. “Our customer service manager, Rick Berry, has been with us for three years and has been a key player in maintaining the quality service that we strive to maintain with our customers. Our customer service representative, Vicki Fontes, who has been with us for less than a year, also is a wonderful asset to our team.” Like Berry, she is committed to providing excellent customer service, he adds. “They both [share my] respect for maintaining the business relationships we build. I am thankful and blessed to have such a great team working for me.”
Whether at work, in his personal life or on a mission, for Lubisco, “It’s all about my trust in God.” And relationships, he adds. “It’s about building trust and keeping the lines of communications open at all times,” he says.
For more information on B.A.S.H visit www.bashministries.com.
For more information on Lexi House visit www.lexihouse.net.