By Ann Marie Shambaugh
Jacob Farr and his crew from Gradex have worked road construction jobs all over the state, but they encountered something new while upgrading eastbound 126th Street in Carmel.
The men enjoyed a free appreciation lunch Nov. 16 courtesy of Carmel United Methodist Church, which is on 126th Street along the construction route.
“As far as someone from the community who doesn’t have anything to do with (us), it’s kind of a first,” Farr said as he and his crew enjoyed brats, homemade chili, cornbread, desserts and more in the church parking lot.
CUMC Local Missions Minister Mike Podgarski helped organize the lunch. He said he’s encountered a lot of anger lately, stemming from the election results nationally to impatient motorists locally, and he hopes that the act of goodwill might encourage others to reach out in kindness.
“These guys, they work hard. They worked until 11:30 last night under lights, and they work Saturdays, so let’s reach out and do something positive for them,” Podgarski said. “We hope that other churches and other organizations will feed off this and say here’s something we can do.”
Podgarski said the construction has hurt CUMC attendance and made it more difficult for clients to use the church’s food pantry. But the construction workers are on the front lines when it comes to facing angry drivers, he said.
“Motorists are frustrated, and these guys take the brunt of that,” Podgarski said.
Farr, a pipe foreman, said that most people in the area have been understanding.
“It’s kind of a pain, but it’s kind of a pain for us, too,” he said. “They live here, so we’re trying to work together with them. If you talk with them it’s not so bad, just let them know you’re trying to not totally ruin their day.”