The 2006 Working For Christ Housing Rehab Project has come and gone, but not without leaving behind a trail of 16 happy homeowners and 71 tired but fulfilled volunteers.
During the week of June 19-23, volunteers once again gave of their time and energy, the equivalent of approximately $30,000 in donated labor, to help neighbors in need in Marlin. They installed ramps for the elderly and disabled; rebuilt porches, replaced windows and rotting boards, and scraped and painted homes.
In one special case, new flooring was installed for a disabled citizen whose floor was caving in. In another, volunteers helped restore hot water to the home of an elderly woman who is living alone. Comments from recipients ranged from, "This is a blessing. I was praying and asking the Lord to make a way" to "What you've done has improved the quality of my life 300%".
"A lot of what we are doing," says Richard Keelan, the founder and director of the Marlin Working For Christ Project, "is triage work just to try to make homes a little more livable and at least be watertight and look good. For so many, it's all they have. The homeowners we have helped are so thrilled. The sweaty hugs you get mean everything. When the homeowners cry because they are so overjoyed, you cry with them."
The roster of heroic volunteers who helped with this year's project include:
William Wright, Ed Moody, Buddy Faulk, Sammy Jobe, Billy Moore, Don Grantham and his son, Thomas, who provided the needed carpentry skills to tackle the major jobs. The work couldn't have been done without them.
Betty Cockrell and her team of faithful kitchen workers - Lear Alford, Gertie Allen, Omelia Cox, Jean Hegefeld, Mary Jo Shields, Archie Smith, and Birdie Smith, who kept the workers well-fed and happy. They provided breakfast and bag lunches everyday, and coordinated a wonderful celebration dinner to cap off the project Friday evening.
Faithful returning veteran worker-bees were Margaret Able, Rubye Bell-Williams, Hilda Blann, Louise Burton, David Cox, Marscia Giesler, Janet Grams, Mary Harlan, Louis Hegefeld, Marion and Donnie Humphrey, Loretta Johnson, John Killian, James & Shirley King, Raymond Lee, Brenda Mason, Doris Mason, Willie Mason, John and Judy Morrow, Deanna Mulsow, Deborah Raphael, Wanda Richardson, Buck Rogers, Verta Shelby, Alfornette Timms, Kirby Word (from Hillsboro), and Yevonne Wright. It should be noted that in order for John Killian to help out again this year he had to give up some of his precious time in the midst of closing his veterinary business and moving up north at the end of this month. Marlinites will miss the Killian's in a big way.
Newcomers this year included representatives from city hall, Mayor Norman Erskine and Councilwomen Elizabeth Nelson and Paula Kluck; two A&M classmates of Richard Keelan (both airline pilots), Robert Keeney of Grapevine, TX and George Walton of Allen, TX, along with his wife, Carolyn; also Robert Kempfhenkel along with wife, Evelyn, who despite his disability of loosing his leg due to a blood clot a few years ago scraped, painted and even climbed a ladder along with the best of them. Other first-timers were Richard Dugar, Virginia Feind (from Eddy), Alma Gordon, Sheila Jackson, Chadwick Roberson, Elizabeth Rogers, Gloria Sparks, Johnnie Venegas, Donald and Lois Wooley The Wooley's, like Buddy Faulk, do this kind of work all year round as a part of the Texas Baptist Men's Association.
Some of the special youth workers this year included Lafabbian King, Christopher Evans, Katherine Killian, Kavan Killian, Kelsey Lehrmann, and Jalen Williams. They were a great help. Special thanks goes to Marscia Giesler for providing childcare everyday freeing up some moms and dads to volunteer. Special thanks also goes to David Cox for filling in for Nick and Marie Mees as project photographer this year. The Mees' 40-year-old camera had to be recently retired. And, last but not least, special thanks to Tommy Tate and Darrel Fillip, who offered to spray washed several homes prior to the project because they were going out of town.
The coordinators of Working For Christ 2006, Richard Keelan, Charles Ray Evans and Rev. Jimmy Phillips, want to thank each person listed above for their willing hearts and willing hands making this year's project a big success. With the 16 homes completed this year, a grand total of 50 have been rehabbed since the beginning of the project 5 years ago. To all who have helped make this possible, Isaiah 58:12 declares: "…YOU will be known as a builder and repairer of city walls and streets." Stay tuned for next year's project.