Kenosha Church lay pastor George Andrews III works the grill for construction workers as they visit his home for lunch. Photo: Sean Krajacic/Kenosha News

June 8, 2021

Desire to help drives Kenosha pastor to feed construction workers

Any time a resident or motorist approaches a road construction crew, it tends not to be for delivery of good news.

But when Kenosha pastor George Andrews III made the short walk from his house on 30th Avenue to the crews from A.W. Oakes & Son in Racine doing work in the 5100 block there, he had something completely different in mind.

Andrews decided to surprise the crew on Tuesday and turned to one of his favorite activities — his grill and a whole bunch of good food.

Citing a desire to do something positive at a time when he said the city can use it, Andrews fired up the barbecue and served lunch to the hungry crew that was working just a few feet from his front door.

“We’re always looking for things to do in the community,” Andrews said. “We play a big part in the community on some other things. When I walked out and saw the guys, I thought, ‘What can I do?’ And I love to barbecue. I said, ‘I’m going to cook them lunch.’ It was simple as that. It was more just for inspiration.”

Andrews said he approached project manager Jim Clements of Graef in Milwaukee about his surprise plan. Clements immediately thought the worst, but he quickly realized the plan Andrews intended to hatch — and even began to apologize for the noise the work created.

“I said, ‘We’ll be out here for the rest of the week, but we won’t be making this kind of noise,’” Clements said. “We were using a pretty loud machine getting through the pavement. It caught me off-guard. But it’s great.”

The gesture certainly was most appreciated, Clements said.

“It’s a great thing,” he said. “He doesn’t have to do this.”


Giving back

Andrews, a pastor at Kenosha Seventh-day Adventist Church, 3223 Roosevelt Road, said being able to help the crews, even for just one lunch hour, meant a lot to him.

Giving back is just something he enjoys doing.

“It does more, I think for me, than them, because it keeps me on a positive note,” Andrews said. “When I see so much and what’s going in this world today — and I have grandkids, I have a son — it keeps me practicing what I preach. The whole world (isn’t bad).”

Andrews said he feels now is a great time for pulling together things like a random lunch for a road crew, given what has happened in the city in recent months.

“It’s really important that people see, especially from the leaders, because we’re the ones who have influence,” he said. “They need to see that you (can’t) let the world eat you up, don’t let the negativity take you out. It’s real important that we do some things that people can see it . . . We can’t just get consumed by it, and we have to do something if we want it to change.”

A longer version of this story ran in the Kenosha News, 4/27/2021

Dan Truttschel, Kenosha News