VOICES: Brent Mason adventures with local youth group

ADVENTURER: Brent Mason spends time working with the Trinity Fellowship Evangelical Free Church youth group. One of his favorite memories is going backpacking with a group. (Pioneer photo/Eric Dresden)

ADVENTURER: Brent Mason spends time working with the Trinity Fellowship Evangelical Free Church youth group. One of his favorite memories is going backpacking with a group. (Pioneer photo/Eric Dresden)

This story is part of Voices of Our Community, which is designed to tell you something new about your neighbors. Participants are chosen at random for the interviews, in which we strive to share a portion of their lives with you, the reader.

BIG RAPIDS TWP. — Brent Mason is only a couple of months into his new job as the administrative assistant at Big Rapids Township.

But Mason also enjoys adventuring, being involved at his Trinity Fellowship Evangelical Free Church and helping people.

Mason, also a city firefighter, spends much of his time working with youth at the church.

The Pioneer talked with Brent about his experiences, adventures and involvement in church.

How are you enjoying your new job?

BRENT MASON: It’s a little busy. I’m learning a lot of new information and trying to make sure I do a good job.

I can’t really say it’s been challenging but there is a lot of new stuff to process. It’s a little different than anything I’ve done before.

So what is your background?

MASON: I started out as a paramedic in 1982. I did that for almost 30 years. I worked in this area quite a bit. I worked here from 1991 to 2010.

I loved that job. Patient care was wonderful. I enjoyed that tremendously and I really want to go back into that profession. I left that job in 2010 and worked for Mohnke Funeral Home for a couple of years as their business office manager.

Where are you from originally?

MASON: You could say Big Rapids is my hometown, I moved here when I was 2 years old. I was born in Petoskey and lived in Indian River while my dad was an engineer for the highway department. My dad worked on I-75, but he came to the conclusion that the only way to get ahead was to be your own businessman and he bought the Paris Gravel Company here in town. It ran up until his death in 1983.

I started my career here and then I left for about five years, from about 1987 to 1991. I was in Grand Haven for three and a half of those years, working for North Ottawa Community Hospital and also for Butterworth AeroMed. I left that to take a management position on the east side of the state.

That lasted nine months. As I tell everybody, that was nothing but headaches, heartaches and stomach-aches. I’m not a manager. I’m good at taking care of things that need to be taken care of. Personnel management is not my forte.

Tell us a little bit about your hobbies.

MASON: I don’t have a bunch of hobbies at the present time but the one thing I have consistently done for the last six or seven summers is I work with youth ministry at Trinity Fellowship Church. We do an Adventure Ministry program. We’ve been going on adventure trips every summer for the past several years.

This last summer we took a group of 35 students and 10 leaders to Wyoming. We actually spent six days hiking and backpacking through the Wind River range.

SUMMER TRIP: Brent Mason stands with other members in his group during a six day backpacking trip through the Wind River range in Wyoming. (Photo courtesy of Brent Mason)

SUMMER TRIP: Brent Mason stands with other members in his group during a six day backpacking trip through the Wind River range in Wyoming. (Photo courtesy of Brent Mason)

It was phenomenal. It put everybody to the absolute, ultimate test of their abilities.

We had tents, it was a leave-no-trace type thing. It taught us a lot about ourselves and how much you have to rely on God to get you through stuff like that.

Everyone was amazed at what they were capable of doing and how much He provided for us in times we thought we were absolutely spent and had no energy left and we made it.

We had groups of people who we thought were going to have to stay overnight on the opposite side of the Continental Divide away from the main group because they were done. We looked back up over the hill and there they were, coming up over the Continental Divide.

We had tremendous stories. The fact that we were literally disconnected from what everybody considered their real life so our group really learned to bond and rely on each other during that six-day stretch.

Are you active in anything else?

MASON: Some other things at church. We have what’s called “Club Ministry,” which is our youth group that meets every Sunday night. I’m the security and medical team leader in that.

I usher on Sunday mornings, so I’ve got quite a bit I’m connected with there. My wife and I both serve as director for what’s called “Power House,” our youth group ministry. That’s probably where I spend the majority of my time. Other things I’ve been interested in but I’ve never really pursued.

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