Man About Menifee: There is Never an Excuse Not to Help

By David Baker

I've always been a big believer in the old sayings that proof is in the pudding, and actions speak louder than words. I've always tried to pass the pass this belief on to my children. Recently, Nikkolas took a trip that exemplifies that theory.

I've heard a lot of people talk about being a good person. That means different things to different people. To me, one of those attributes is selfless service. We've seen our share of selfless service and volunteerism in Menifee this week.

In order to instill this value, the youth of the United Methodist Church gather every summer for Sierra Service Project, or SSP for short.

SSP is an interdenominational service project where youth from many Christian churches gather for worship and to repair or improve homes for those in need. They've grown to the point that each church gets one week, but the event is four to five weeks long. It's open to youth in junior high and high school. Since he just graduated high school, this will be Nikk's last year as a youth member. However, he has talked about going back as an adult volunteer or even a paid staffer all summer.

This year, they descended on the town of Stockton, Calif. Nikkolas was assigned to a team that was building a deck and wheelchair access ramp for an elderly woman who is now blind. He even got his picture in the local paper (above; photo courtesy Stockton Record).

Each year, he has learned something useful and new. Sometimes it's a new skill with a tool and sometimes it's a skill related to building. This year he learned the importance of a properly stocked first aid kit.

As he was heading out the door ready for his trip, I handed him the large first aid kit we take with us on family campouts. It's not incredibly bulky, about the size of a lunchbox, but it is generally pretty well stocked. Being a typical teenager, he rolled his eyes but humored me anyway and placed the first aid kit with the rest of his gear.

A few days into his trip, his friend walked up to him and said, "Do you have any Benadryl? Because you know I might die." His friend over the last several years had developed an increasing allergy to bug bites and had just been stung by a bee; he was beginning to swell.

The year prior, Nikk had developed a reputation for being prepared, so he was the first person his friend went to. It just so happened that due to luck and good planning, I had restocked the Benadryl a few weeks prior. Nikkolas gave his friend some. This bought them some time to get him the proper medical care.

His friend is fine and everybody else also made it home without any further injury, although his friend now has to carry an EpiPen.

So that's what Nikkolas did this summer.

In light of recent events, I want to encourage everyone to find a cause, to find something you believe in and do it. Make your summer count, have fun, and stay safe.

David Baker, our Man About Menifee, writes about his adventures in and around town every Friday in this space. You may leave comments for him here or email him at


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