Steve Moore wasn't bothered by his classmates' jokes about doing service work for atonement Saturday in downtown Oklahoma City.
While some class reunions involve meeting over brunch or reminiscing over coffee, members of Southern Nazarene University's class of 1980 grabbed scrub brushes, rolled up their sleeves and got to work.
About 18 members of the class, which was celebrating its 30-year reunion, spent Saturday morning scrubbing floors and installing ceiling tiles to help restore the old NuWay Laundry and Dry Cleaners building, 1122 Linwood Blvd., in downtown Oklahoma City.
Moore hadn't seen many of his former classmates for several years. On Saturday, they bantered as if no time had passed. Some joked that the work was their penance for rowdy behavior and fun times in college.
â€œWe're making up for everything we did 30 years ago,â€ one said.
â€œWe're going to be here for the rest of our lives,â€ another responded.
The building they worked to help restore will be the new home for Love Link Ministries, Inc., an Oklahoma City organization that provides social services to those in need.
The organization's executive director, Marilyn Stark, is a member of the SNU class of 1980. Stark said she hoped her former classmates' actions would inspire other classes to give back to the community through service projects of their own.
Love Link provides a food pantry, a sober living program and a thrift shop. The organization is run primarily by volunteers. Stark said directors hope to eventually add an outpatient drug and alcohol program, on-site job training, after school programs, medical and dental services. Those additions would come after Love Link moves out of its current 6,500-square-foot building at 500 S Western Ave. and into the new building, which is 80,000 square feet.
Stark said she hopes to be able to open the thrift store in the new location by the beginning of 2011.
On Saturday, chatter and laughter echoed inside a 4,500 square-foot room that will become the new thrift store as a group of women reminisced while scrubbing the concrete floor.
Debbie Lindquist, of Dallas, said the service project was much more fun than a traditional banquet or luncheon.
â€œIt's so important to reach out to other people in the community and let them know that we care,â€ Lindquist said.
Moore said Southern Nazarene teaches students the value of service. He said Saturday's project just felt like the right thing to do.
â€œThis community gave a lot to us when we were going to school here, and we just felt like it was time to give something back to the community.â€
For more information about Love Link Ministries, go to www.lovelinkministries.org.