When Larry Nugent retired from his job as a sheet metal worker, he thought he would spend his days boating, fishing and hunting. In reality, all he did was set down his paying job for a volunteer effort that keeps him busy each week.
In 1991, his church, Bethlehem Lutheran in Shaler, began picking up unwanted furniture and delivering it to those in need.
“I joined in, probably around 2001, because I had a pickup truck,” Nugent said. “It has just grown.”
The ministry, called New Start, involves Nugent and a handful of other volunteers collecting everything from plates and silverware to couches and refrigerators, then giving them to about 200 individuals and families in need. In doing the work, he puts about 15,000 miles a year on his white Dodge pickup truck.
“I’m out in my truck pretty much every day,” Nugent said. “A little more relaxed on Saturdays and Sundays, but it’s generally around 8:30, 9 in the morning and sometimes I won’t get back until 10:30 or 11 at night,”
Nugent, who lives in the North Hills makes deliveries as far away as West Virginia and Ohio.
He said it’s not the driving that’s so bad, it’s the lifting.
“Steps are a killer,” Nugent said with a laugh. He said he has had to bring furniture in through windows and even pulled a couch up the outside of a building to bring it in through a third story porch door.
“This became the burning desire for me that this is what I was supposed to be doing and I couldn’t deny it,” Nugent said. “I was blessed and I need to see if I can’t bless others.”