The Shinnston News & Harrison County Journal has named Kevin Brand as May’s Citizen of the Month, a program sponsored by Dorsey Funeral Home in Shinnston – locally owned & operated.
By TRINA RUNNER
News & Journal Staff Writer
A simple task in middle school launched Kevin Brand into a life of service. As part of the Duff Street United Methodist Church confirmation class, he worked with his mentor, Lois Gilmore, to create a service project to benefit the community of Harrison County. Together, they hosted a blood drive with the American Red Cross.
“Seeing the results of the blood drive opened my eyes to how one simple act can bless many,” said Brand. “In some cases, it can change people’s lives.”
When Brand started at Robert C. Byrd High School, he was very active in Student Council, dedicating his time and energy to community service projects both within and outside of the school. After graduation, he heard about a group who did community outreach, walking around town and feeding the homeless and learning their stories.
“My life was changed forever when I was invited to get to know the homeless community,” said Brand. “I had the privilege to learn about their lives and why they were homeless and I was able to build relationships with them while I delivered them food.”
Brand, along with the other members of the outreach team, found that homelessness has many causes and nearly everyone is at risk.
“They are someone’s loved one,” he said. “There are those who have no family or who are addicts, and there are those whose medical bills were too high or who have mental health issues.”
Through the efforts of Brand and the outreach team, assessments were made on each person and, by using area resources and the trust that had been built, many of those served were able to be housed. By helping the homeless community to see hope, the group has been able to put 40 people in homes and nearly 50 people in treatment facilities.
“We love them where they are and we are willing to not only feed them, but to take them to treatment again and again if necessary,” said Brand, who is now studying Health Sciences and Phlebotomy at Pierpont Community and Technical College. “I know God led me to this ministry for a reason and I love volunteering several times each week and hosting our outreach dinner every Thursday.”
Brand’s compassion and love has helped change the lives of those he serves and those who witness it. He personifies love in his service and sees how each small act can make the world a better place.