Volunteer says so long|Charles Watson has been brawn behind VBS decor

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 27, 2009

Over the past 15 years Charles Watson has built a Hummer, a boat, a surfboard, a train and, yes, even a volcano.

Watson, 69, has been a vacation Bible school volunteer at Eagle Lake Baptist Church and, this year, was director of the session. Using his imagination and ingenuity, he has brought the themes of many a VBS to life through his detailed decorations.

As VBS at Eagle Lake wound down this week, it was the last for Watson.

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“I have thoroughly enjoyed this,” said Watson, who is retired from International Paper. “I’ve been putting in 300 or 400 hours a year doing this. I haven’t quite got the patience I had 15 years ago.”

Even with his work at Eagle Lake, Watson has continued to conduct prison and homebound ministries and prayer and share groups each week. Watson says he still plans to devote his time to those and other ministries.

“I just had to give up on something; the fire isn’t quite there as it used to be,” said Watson, who says he often wakes up in the middle of the night with a design idea.

“I’d go out to my shop and work on something at 2, 3 or 4 in the morning; I guess that’s when God just put it in there,” said Watson, pointing to his head.

This year’s VBS theme is Boom-a-rang Express, and Watson constructed a red and black locomotive from plywood and a large metal drum. The decorations are being donated to Highland Baptist Church for its VBS, called Kids’ Camp, set for July 13-17 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Vacation Bible school volunteer Dinna Simmons said Watson and his designs will be missed. “No one can ever compare to the stuff he did. He really is to be commended.”

Watson has lived at Eagle Lake with his wife, Linda, since 1998 when they moved from Bovina. He has two children, three grandchildren with one great-grandchild due in September.

Eagle Lake has been conducting VBS for at least 20 years, and the 2009 session drew close to 40 children from kindergarten through sixth grade.


Contact Matthew Breazeale at mbreazeale@vicksburgpost.com