Joy Bishop hosts luncheon at Camp Montvale to spread Harmony story

Hanging out at Camp Montvale are, from left, Dana Hubbert, Bria Hinson, Denise, Mike and Richard Spalding and Hunter Tyler.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Hanging out at Camp Montvale are, from left, Dana Hubbert, Bria Hinson, Denise, Mike and Richard Spalding and Hunter Tyler.

In the past few months, 178 volunteers have donated $32,000 worth of work to help clean up, rebuild and revamp Camp Montvale as Harmony Adoptions works to transform it into the Harmony Family Center at Montvale.

Joy Bishop is not surprised.

Bishop, a community leader, donates her time as chair of the volunteer committee for Harmony Adoptions.

Recently, she organized a luncheon for supporters of the facility. Fifteen to 20 people turned out for the June 29 get together at Camp Montvale.

“It went really well,” Bishop said. “I think that a lot of people who were there are interested in helping.”

Bishop said several walked away from the luncheon ready to volunteer. “There was money donated even though we didn’t ask for money. Mark Ingram and Cathy Ackermann are our fundraisers, and they were there,” she said. “The whole event was very nice. I couldn’t have been more pleased.”

Bishop said the volunteers have been giving their time in the last couple of months as Harmony ramps up efforts to renovate the facility. “If we had had to pay for the work already done by the volunteers, it would have been about $32,000,” Bishop said. “Several people have painted and cleaned the cabins and the chapel.”

Harmony Volunteer Coordinator Aaron Killian said that since the middle of May, individuals and representatives from several groups, companies and churches have donated their time. Volunteers from Victory Baptist Church in Maryville, members of the Boys Scouts of America, a group of former camp counselors from Camp Montvale, participants of Maryville College Summer Youth programs and employees from Aubrey’s Restaurant, Ackermann Public Relations and McGhee Tyson Air National Guard civilian manpower have all contributed to the endeavor. Team Effort organized a group from Red Creek Baptist Church in Vestry, Miss., and New Testament Baptist Church of Miami, Fla. also volunteered.

Bishop said she appreciates the generosity of folks in Blount County. “I’m not at all surprised, because we’re all overwhelmed with the generosity of this community, both to volunteer their treasure and their time,” she said. “I’ve never seen anything like it, and the move to Blount County was my 28th move.” Bishop, now retired, was with the Air Force as a civilian senior executive.

Founder and CEO of Harmony Adoptions, Pam Wolf, said Bishop has given a lot of her time, energy and ideas to help at Camp Montvale. “At the luncheon, we had some adoptive parents come and talk about what a difference Harmony and our Adoption Support and Preservation Program have made,” Wolf said. “They gave real-life examples of what a difference it makes and what a difference Camp Montvale would make. That really inspired folks.”

Wolf said after the luncheon, staff and volunteers gave tours, and guests could see what was happening at the camp each week. They are continuing the luncheons through the end of August.

“From 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Wednesday we are serving free hotdogs and lemonade to anyone interested in coming for a tour and hearing about Montvale and hearing what our plans are. We’re pretty excited. We’ve had some pretty good crowds so far, and we are going to do this through the end of August,” said Wolf.

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