Reconnecting over a refrigerator repair

Ben O'Neal (on left) with Shepherd Center's volunteer, Patrick Jamison.

Reconnecting over a refrigerator repair
April 04
04:17 2023

By Cheryl Lane-Lewis

Patrick Jamison of Pfafftown has served as a minor home repair volunteer with The Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston Salem for nearly four years. On a recent visit to Lewisville, he was assigned a repair at the home of Ben O’Neal. Ben, a former veteran who shares his home with his three-legged Black Lab, Ms. Molly, was having an issue with his refrigerator’s water filter.

Over the course of the visit, Patrick noticed multiple items throughout the home that sparked his interest. Ben was obviously a motorcycle enthusiast and an artist. Their conversation topics ranged from memories of military service, to raising children, to the current state of the world.

After a minor adjustment, Ben let Patrick know that his refrigerator was under warranty and that he should expect a visit from the service provider the following week. They shook hands and Patrick asked if he could follow up with him in the future to make sure repairs were complete. 

On the way out, Patrick noticed two paintings – a depiction of The Last Supper and another of Jesus preaching The Sermon on the Mount. Ben left abruptly and quickly returned with another work of art that he wanted to share.  When Patrick held the painting up to the light, he believes he experienced an epiphany. Ben had felt very familiar to Patrick from the moment he opened his front door. Patrick started mentioning names and events and watched Ben’s eyes grow bigger as he recalled specifics of a time gone by. How could he know all these details? 

It turns out that Patrick and Ben had both worked at the same company, Northeast Structural out by Talley’s Crossing near Kernersville,  35 years ago! They were not on the same crew, but knew many of the same folks. Ben did not remember Patrick specifically, but that doesn’t  matter. They’ve already made plans for lunch in the not too distant future. 

The fruit that volunteering bears is often unpredictable.

Cheryl Lane-Lewis is volunteer coordinator for the Shepherd’s Center of Greater Winston-Salem. For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors