You may recognize Rich Slavik as the guy who hands you a bulletin as you walk into church or passes you an offering plate during service. He’s quietly assumed this role of usher for so long that even he has forgotten how many years its been, but he’s earned the title of lead usher because without fail he shows up and is there to serve. He has been showing up at Good Sam since 1996, back before the tattoo shop, when our congregation met at the Knight’s of Columbus Hall.
Originally from New Jersey, Rich first found himself here in Pax River with the Navy and during his 27 year career he was stationed a total of 4 times. It was on his last tour here that he found Good Sam. After retiring from the navy, he dabbled briefly with civilian contracting on base, but ultimately found his next calling in serving with The Arc Southern Maryland. This organization’s mission is “Creating opportunities for independence and personal success for people with different abilities in inclusive communities.” This job brought him into a support and friendship role with adults with developmental disabilities – Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Muscular Dystrophy and more. Rich spent the next 14 years taking assignments to care for and serve individuals; helping them with their daily routines, taking them shopping, playing pool, or going to movies. He maintained connections and friendships with these men and women and their families.
All the while Rich continued to attend and serve Good Sam, through transitions and changes of location. He has served on the finance team on and off, and still serves as secretary. He witnessed the birth of the Food Pantry through a youth group challenge to bring in food, watched it grow, helped when he could, and after retirement eventually took over as the lead of Our Daily Bread food pantry. I see Rich in the office every Monday like clockwork as he picks up food from the donation bins and carries it across the parking lot. He is participating in a group trying to bring a Food Bank to St Mary’s County for the benefit of ALL of the local food pantries and soup kitchens, but for now he and others weekly drive to Waldorf to restock what’s needed from the closest area Food Bank. He leads volunteers from our church and community every Wednesday and Friday as they restock shelves and then help hand out food to the 120 patrons who come each week. Rich’s steady and persistent mission to serve others helps sustains the ministries he touches, and we are lucky to have this member in mission as part of our community.