DOWNEY -- In what was regarded as a major community project, more than 40 volunteers from host Downey First Baptist Church and North Long Beach's Light and Life Christian Fellowship on Saturday teamed up and turned the church front into a giant car wash facility that serviced all but one of the Downey Police Department's 35 patrol cars, as well as two staff cars.Coordinated by associate pastor Rich Holt and Sgt. Scott Locklear of the Downey Police Department, it is believed that all of the department's patrol cars on duty were able to roll, single file, onto the assembly line-looking designated car wash area where 40-plus pairs of willing hands first hosed the dusty vehicles, vacuumed every nook and cranny of the interiors, washed the cars thoroughly with detergent, and waxed and buffed them to an unearthly shine with Armorall--and all within the scheduled 9 a.m.-12 noon time frame. The end result was in every instance a spick-and-span vehicle that would put other car wash jobs, especially products of car wash machines, to shame. After each job, two police aides took turns whisking the vehicles away to where they first came from. At one point, Holt noted that the photographer taking pictures of the activity was Rick Salyer, who was chairman of the senior board at the church, and indeed was at the Oscars officially with his camera taking pictures. He also noted that his wife, Kelly, who was in charge of the refreshments and drinks, was one of the number of active church volunteers taking part in the service project, whose participants included some 'movers and shakers' in the church. Pastor Holt, who has served at Downey First Baptist since 1998 even as he obtained his doctorate in education from Talbot School of Theology in 2010, said he at one point heard one police officer say, "This is the first time all our patrol cars are being washed in one place at one time." He said other groups representing the Boy Scouts, Warren High students, and other churches were scheduled to take part in the car wash but other duties prevented them from coming. As it was, the volunteers who were present proved more than enough for the task at hand. The germ of the project, he said, began when he and police chief Rick Esteves had a friendly and informal chat last fall on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. It was then that he broached the idea of holding a car wash for the police department. The chief enthusiastically endorsed the idea and told Holt that he was going to appoint a sergeant as his counterpart at the police department. So the project came to pass. Holt said when the commitment was made to the church's ministry, Community Matters, the project was a done deal. In fact, green T-shirts with Community Matters written on the back were worn by more than half the volunteers, young and old, and taking inspiration, courtesy of Holt, from Jeremiah 29:7 ("And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace." (The Gideon Bible.) Holt explained that the church had been collaborating regularly with Keep Downey Beautiful in several clean-up community projects. He also said that, in conversation with Sgt. Mark McDaniel, who was the watch commander Saturday but made it a point to come to the car wash, agreed to the pastor's suggestion that they hold the car wash henceforth every quarter. The First Baptist Church of Downey was established in 1868.
********** Published: March 08, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 47