Melvin Birdsong is a servant both in spirit and in action.
"I like doing things for the community," said Birdsong. "People come together in a crisis situation, but I want people to come together for fun as well."
200-plus people came together at the Health Awareness and Fall Festival held at The Freedom Ministry Church property in South Apopka. The event was sponsored by Freedom Ministries Outreach and organized by Birdsong, who brought together the Apopka Fire and Police Departments, The Orange County Sheriff's Office, Crimeline and 25 other sponsors for the event.
APD and AFD brought K-9 units, Emergency Response Teams, Youth Fingerprinting and gave away child safety kits.
Several other sponsors set up booths and were on hand to provide health services, flu immunizations, mental disorder and cancer information, legal advice, blood pressure checks, medicare options information, kid's give-away promotions, basketball contests, music, games, and free food.
Birdsong was pleased with the turnout, and the chance to bring law enforcement and other public service organizations out to help the community.
Birdsong has been a leader in the Apopka community for years. He is an Associate Pastor at The Freedom Ministries Church in South Apopka since 1989, and a Chaplain for The Orange County Sheriff's Office for the last 15 years. His experience in that time gives him the foresight to see the immediate needs of people, but also future issues that can be avoided through early intervention.
"It's important to help people in need, but it's also important to help them when they aren't in need," he said. "This way they won't be in trouble or have needs in the future."
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