Bennie Patterson is a devoted man.
He’s been a distribution volunteer, delivering Southeast Outlook newspapers around Louisville since 2003.
“I’m kind of loyal,” said Patterson, 73, a Southeast Christian Church member. “I’ve been doing the paper routes for 17 years. I’ve been going to Southeast for 28 years. I worked at General Electric for 35 years. I’ve been married to the same woman, Mary, for 53 years.”
Patterson reached out to Outlook Circulation Coordinator Dottie Koebel to volunteer because his wife, a hairdresser, had a client covering a paper route that became too big.
“I enjoy talking to people at each location,” Patterson added. “I look at it as a way to not only serve my Lord and Savior, but the church. I look at it as an opportunity, not work at all. Distributing The Outlook gives me a reason to get out and be a little bit active.”
Though Patterson retired from GE in 2000, he stays pretty busy with eight grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a part-time job, which he got while making his Wednesday delivery eight years ago.
“I was delivering The Outlook, and I went into the Chick-fil-A Springhurst location for lunch,” he said. “The owner happened to be in. We got to chatting a bit and he said, ‘What else do you do besides volunteer one day a week?’ I said, ‘Well, that’s it right now.’ Now I deliver food for breakfast or lunchtime.”
In 2001, The Outlook had two distribution volunteers delivering about 250 newspapers a week.
Currently, Patterson is one of 29 distribution volunteers covering 24 routes. They have driven a combined 16,257 miles between January through August and deliver 5,000-plus newspapers to more than 500 locations every week throughout Kentucky and Southern Indiana.
“As we celebrate The Southeast Outlook’s 25th anniversary, the Lord has called outstanding distribution volunteers throughout the years,” Koebel said. “Through these ambassadors for Christ, He has done and is still doing supernatural work within our ministry. Without our faithful and devoted volunteers, I shudder to think how we would be able to distribute the newspaper on a weekly basis. I think of Romans 12:4-5, which says, ‘For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.’”
Distribution volunteers have worked about 1,100 hours in 2020.
Southeast member Harvey Cantrell started delivering The Outlook in 2017.
Cantrell, who’s helped on every route minus a few, is Koebel’s “yes man.”
“She always starts out, ‘You know you’ve got a ‘no’ card,” said Cantrell, 85. “I’ve never played the ‘no’ card with Dottie. I always say, ‘OK Dottie, which route do you want me to run now?’ I enjoy the work of delivering the paper. I’ve filled in a lot of different places.”
After someone in his small group was stepping down as an Outlook delivery driver, he asked Cantrell to see if he could fill in.
“I made the mistake of asking Dottie if there was anything I could do to help her,” Cantrell added.
For his first year, Cantrell delivered papers to Elizabethtown.
He’s currently running two, many times three routes, including Jeffersonville and Corydon, Indiana, and the area near Bardstown Road and South Hurstbourne Parkway.
Cantrell makes 75 to 80 stops, dropping off 300 newspapers, which takes about six hours a week.
On some occasions, he has driven 200 to 250 miles when filling in for other routes.
“I enjoy the drive,” he said. “I don’t mind the traffic. I have great camaraderie with The Outlook staff and volunteers. I enjoy volunteering.”