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HE'S A DOER

This past month, West Hernando Christian School freshman Jonathon Lamb learned about climate and weather in his geography class.

On weekends and on the days school was closed because of hurricane warnings, he learned other weather-related lessons first hand: just how devastating the weather can be.

Jonathon, 14, joined his father, Rick Lamb, Hernando County director of the Christian Contractors Association, and a small army of volunteers boarding up windows, felling trees and repairing roofs as they helped people rebuild their lives after successive storms.

The CCA is a nonprofit group of men and women who help the area's most needy, especially the elderly, widowed and disabled, and primarily after natural disasters. It's a group whose requirements are not certifications, but "a willing heart and a strong back," said Jonathon's mother, Pat.

Jonathon has both, so he and the other volunteers from CCA spent many hours in the Lake Wales area providing much-needed storm recovery services after Hurricane Charley

"We need to share what we have and lend a hand when we can," Jonathon said.

He spent his summer doing what many boys do, hanging around with friends, riding bikes.

But after Hurricane Charley, Jonathon was busy hanging plastic over roofs and fixing floors of mobile homes. He lost three days of school following Charley.

"For the Christian school, this kind of work is as integral as reading and writing," said his mother.

Jonathon said he has always enjoyed building and working with tools. And as early as 4 or 5 years of age, he was helping neighbors pick up debris after storms, his mother said.

"He has a servant's heart. From the time he was small, he recognized need early on, and now he has an outlet," she said. "He gets to learn construction and help others along the way. Kind of a nice combination."

Floyd Irvin lives next door to the Lambs. He and his wife, Nancy, have been the recipients of Jonathon's generosity.

"The boy is always there to help," said Irvin, 71. "If you're outside doing something and he comes home from school, he's right there. He just never stops. He's mowing the lawn or he's up on the roof cleaning out the gutters."

Jonathon is not a talker; he's a doer, according to Irvin. "And that's alright with me," he said. "We get along just fine."

During Hurricane Frances, Irvin's generator broke down and he went over to the Lambs to ask if he could plug his generator into theirs.

"Of course, they said yes," said Irvin. "But before I could get ready, there he is, at my back door with a cord, ready to take it in and hook up my refrigerator and stuff. And I'm not the only one he helps."

Before Frances arrived, Jonathon spent a day helping board up his school in preparation for the storm. He was eager to go with his dad wherever they were needed after Frances hit, but that time, reading and writing won out. His mother insisted that he not miss any more school days.

"He was dying to go," said Floyd Irvin, "but if his father comes home on the weekend, I can guarantee you, Saturday morning, he's in that truck (with his dad) and off and running."

And that's what happened when schools closed again in preparation for Hurricane Ivan. The CCA contractors came home from the Lake Wales area for a few days, and Jonathon and his father loaded up some supplies on the truck and were off to help people in Hernando County, cutting down trees and sealing off damaged roofs.

For those whose homes were made a bit more livable, volunteers like Jonathon are a blessing. And for Jonathon, it's a way to "give God's glory," he said.

Jonathon lives in Spring Hill with his parents and sister, Jessica, 13 and brother, Christopher, 11.

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