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One of the hardest parts of going on the road to do service projects is deciding how much equipment you can realistically take for the jobs at hand. A group of United Methodist men from Michigan, who have experience helping people, came up with a solution—just take it all. Reed Galin took a ride with the “Toolies.”

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(Locator: Traverse City, Michigan)

The “Toolies”—as they’re known at Central United Methodist Church in Traverse City, Michigan—have learned a few things about doing relief work and rebuilding in the U.S. and other countries.

Bob Grigereit: “This is pretty heavy duty. We have a smaller air compressor that we use with smaller nail guns.”

They know if you don’t have the right gear, the work slows down. So, the church bought a trailer and filled it with supplies. It’s not just for the Toolies … it’s for anyone doing construction projects for victims of disasters or people in need.

Bob Grigereit: “We intended this as a trailer that would be available to any church organization or civic organization.”

Six Toolies maintain the trailer and loan it out—for free.

Bob Grigereit: “We don't put limits on it. We just want to feel that we’re wearing the tires off this thing and we don’t want it rusting out sitting in a parking lot somewhere.”

Recently, another church took the trailer to Iowa, rebuilding flood-damaged homes.

(Sound of nail gun)

The trailer was on location for most of summer 2008 at a Habitat for Humanity site.

Mark McCarcken: “Makes a big difference. It’s probably twice as quick to do things.”

The trailer and equipment are a $5,000 investment, but the Toolies don’t worry about others using it.

David Lather: “We trust ‘em. They’re working on a great cause and that’s a real rewarding feeling knowing that you’re making a difference in people’s lives. It’s like we’re putting our blessing on the project by saying ‘Here, you have all this equipment, do your best.’”


It's understood that normal use can result in some things breaking, and the Toolies see that as just routine maintenance when the trailer returns. They hold fundraisers to keep the trailer well-equipped.

And people who borrow the trailer don’t have to worry about the liability aspect, either. Central United Methodist Church maintains insurance on the trailer.

For more information about the Toolies’ trailer, call 231-946-5191.

Posted: October 14, 2009