Pastor surprised with new box truck for church’s food pantry

Once a month, Gary Dyer was driving an old box truck to Corydon to load food into the back and bring it to Seymour to stock the I Care Ministries Food Pantry at Seymour Harvest Church.

In recent years, though, bumpers fell off of the truck, the brakes were going bad and it was getting a lot of miles on it. Plus, the truck didn’t have air conditioning in the cab.

Dyer kept telling his wife, Felecia, he needed a new truck, and every time, she would tell him to pray about it. So he did.

“We made it by prayer,” he said of each trip to and from Corydon. “I get real nervous going down the road because I said, ‘God, just help me to get there’ because the brakes were making a terrible noise. Then the front bumper fell off in the driveway. … It’s a ‘93, and everything is getting old.”

A couple of weeks ago, a used box truck appeared on the Edwards Truck Sales lot for sale, and Gary and fellow Seymour Harvest Church Pastor Larry Robbins gave it a test drive.

The market value, however, was $15,000, so Gary and some others continued praying.

Meanwhile, one of their friends, Jeff Ellis, went to talk to the dealership owner.

“They were very gracious and they made an offer by reducing the truck price down dramatically to $8,000,” he said.

The next step was reaching out to donors, and Ellis was pleasantly surprised that seven people anonymously raised $8,000. He then took that to the dealership to buy the truck.

“Every one of these people dearly love Gary and have a heart for Gary and the ministry that God has given Gary and Felecia,” Ellis said of the donors.

Ellis then met with Felecia, the Dyers’ son and daughter-in-law, Farron and Raven Dyer, who have operated the food pantry for the past three years, and Pastor George Hamlin to come up with a design for both sides of the truck.

They chose the food pantry’s logo, which includes two doves and three crosses, and also an American flag to pay tribute to Gary being a Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Army. His name and military emblem were put on the driver’s door, and “Jesus loves me” and “John 3:16” are on the back door. TAG in Seymour was tasked with applying all of that on the truck.

“TAG did a fantastic job on that. They did that in a heartbeat,” Farron said.

TAG also made bright-yellow shirts with the pantry logo on the front and the Bible verse on the back for people to wear during an event June 25 at the church celebrating Gary and Felecia’s 26 years with the pantry.

Gary, however, wasn’t told about the box truck.

As he and Felecia stood in the parking lot and thanked the attendees, Gary suddenly heard police sirens coming down U.S. 31. When he turned around, he saw police cars escorting a box truck pulling into the parking lot.

“You’ve got to know you guys are the blessing. In one way or another, you have blessed us, and I wish I could do something for you,” he said to the crowd, to which a woman responded, “Just keep being Gary Dyer.”

For Ellis and the Dyer family, it was hard for them to keep the truck a secret.

“It took a lot in me to keep it a secret from him,” Farron said, smiling.

“I knew this whole time. You know how hard it was for me not to just say?” Raven said. “I’m just amazed at the people that showed up. It’s amazing. I’m just speechless. I’m glad everything came together. I’m glad the community worked together to be able to give him this box truck.”

After the truck arrived, Farron had his parents stand on the electronic lift on the back to be raised up to the cargo area. Gary then asked everyone to raise their hands as Robbins prayed a blessing over the truck and all of the travels it will make.

Then after Gary and Felecia spoke, a woman surprised them by asking people for donations to put toward gas money. That generated $446.

For all involved, surprising Gary will stay with them for a while.

“We all have memories that we would like to forget … but then we have good memories that we cherish, so this is something we will live with for the rest of our lives,” Ellis said. “We will always have a connection for the rest of our lives and will bear witness throughout eternity. It was worth every bit of what we poured out of our lives, and it wasn’t any one. It was many.”

Ultimately, Ellis said the goal was to bless the Dyers for their many years of faithful service to the Lord.

“But ultimately, as they will tell you, to God be the glory,” Ellis said.

From his overseas service in the military to his many years of being a pastor and leading the food pantry, Gary has been a blessing, Felecia said.

“To us, God has just been an awesome God, and I could never thank him enough for everything and for every one of you,” she told friends and family at the event. “God has blessed (Gary) and is still blessing him, and whoever had their hand in this, I can’t tell you ‘Thank you’ enough. God has blessed Mr. Dyer.”

The food pantry started in a 24-by-24-foot room in their home in 1996 after a freezer was dropped off one day and 500 frozen meals were given to them the next day.

“(Felecia) said, ‘What do we do now?’ I said, ‘Well, we just give it away, I guess,’ and it started right out of our house,” Gary said.

They took the food to an apartment complex in Seymour, and Felecia said the residents knew when they saw the box truck coming to bring a bag or two to fill it with food.

A fire at the Dyers’ home in 2009 resulted in the food pantry moving to Seymour Harvest Church when it was on North Chestnut Street. Then four years ago, the church moved to 4604 N. U.S. 31, and the pantry has been there ever since.

It’s open to the public one day a week, and volunteers help keep the pantry organized and assist when food is handed out.

Volunteers and monetary donations are welcome any time.

“You just never know who is going to pick up and do whatever. We all have our different talents,” Felecia said of the volunteers. “We don’t get paid for it, but I tell you what, God has always blessed us and paid for everything that we ever need. He has always brought the right people in at the right time.”

At a glance 

The I Care Ministries Food Pantry is located at Seymour Harvest Church, 4604 N. U.S. 31, Seymour.

For information, call 812-522-3918 or visit