A meaningful retirement is how Tony Tarpley, former manufacturing engineer for Bell Helicopter and woodworking hobbyist, envisioned his life following his career. Five years ago, when he discovered an opportunity with TBM Cabinet Builders to use his skills and passions to help ministries spread the Gospel, he knew he had to try it.
“TBM is all about advancing the kingdom of God,” he said. “To me that is something that any believer can get behind and support. I have the time and energy to give and a little bit of skill or talent, so that’s why I do it.”
Even with his experience, Tarpley admitted that he had much to learn when it came to building cabinets and furniture, but his teammates were more than willing to teach him.
“They showed me a lot,” he said. “I even learned how to build them quickly.”
Tarpley’s most memorable project took place last year, when the Cabinet Builders team dedicated 1,500 hours to building furniture for On Eagles’ Wings, a ministry to young Native Americans in Arkansas. Even from behind the scenes, he felt honored to contribute his talents to a ministry that is raising up indigenous leaders.
“It’s a good way of serving,” Tarpley explained. “It’s all about spreading the Gospel. Whatever you’re doing, even in the background, you’re showing the love of God.”
Not only is the work meaningful, but Tarpley says he has gained lifelong relationships through working alongside other believers with the same goals in mind.
“We eat lunch every day, pray together, have a devotional and talk about the service that we’re doing, and that serves as bonding time,” he said.
A willing heart is all one truly needs to become a volunteer with TBM Cabinet Builders, Tarpley said. It’s worth trying out, especially for someone hoping to meaningfully spend his or her retirement.
When he’s not building furniture at TBM’s cabinet shop, Tarpley can be found volunteering on service projects with First Baptist Church in Red Oak.
TBM Builders ministries – including Church, Camp and Cabinet Builders – empower churches, camps and other ministries to accomplish their God-given visions of expanding the kingdom of God. Click here to learn more about opportunities to volunteer with TBM Builders.