Volunteers join to make home repairs

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Robert Chambers scraped and repainted woodwork on the Smith home on Texie

Thirty-seven local volunteers spent Saturday, July 16, repairing and painting the home of veteran Mike Smith, at 705 W. Texie, in Monette.

Smith is well known as a skilled and very versatile handyman. After leaving Monette High School, he served two tours of duty as a Marine in Viet Nam. Upon return he purchased tools and began using his skills at carpentry and home repair to make a living. In the past few years Smith's neighbors and friends became aware of his failing health situation and knew he was unable to physically make needed repairs to his home. Using Smith's own tools, they joined forces with a local mission group called "God at Work" to repair and paint his home.

"I was so surprised they wanted to come here and help me," Smith said. "I have awfully good neighbors and friends who come by and visit me often and bring me things. I just never thought so many of them would come over here and spend the day working on my house. I couldn't believe how much they got done in the seven hours they were here."

Chris Winford and Anthony Reece install new living room floor with help from Trever Mangrum and Lexie Rand, while Fred Couch and David Timms install a new floor in the bathroom.

Workers began to arrive at the Smith home at 7 a.m. to take advantage of the cooler conditions, as days were reached the upper 90 degree temperatures.

Kenneth Winford originally spearheaded the "God at Work" local mission effort under the leadership of New Hope Baptist Church in Black Oak. The church members, along with other area volunteers, have already completed 15 local mission projects in the Black Oak, Caraway and Monette area since they organized less than two years ago.

"There is a growing need for home repair in our area," Winford said. "So many people want to help make life better for those in need, based on the James 1:22 scripture to be doers of the word. Before long our group of volunteers grew, with men, women and children all responding to the needs of people in their communities."

Laura Parnell measures and cuts wood for repairs, with help from Jimmy Edwards and Rev. Rusty Bird.

Robert and Marsha Chambers of Monette are also members of the Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief team and have worked at disaster sites in several states.

"Helping people is a ministry all in itself," Robert Chambers said. "It changes people's lives, both the recipient and the worker. Once someone sees the difference it makes in lives, they are quick to catch the vision of God at work through being a volunteer."

Monette veteran Mike Smith was amazed at the work done by the mission team.

Jimmy Blackford, an Arkansas DR team member from Marion, donated a trailer for the local mission group to use in collecting and storing supplies and equipment. The trailer was sand blasted in Jonesboro and painted by Bob Blankenship in Monette.

Material supplies for the repairs at the Smith home were purchased by donations from New Hope Baptist Church and Monette First Baptist Church. The volunteers came from seven different churches, which included New Hope, Monette Baptist, Monette Church of Christ, Lake City Baptist, Jonesboro Assembly of God, Jonesboro Central Baptist and Piggott churches.

Dinner on the grounds was provided by the Dorcas and Winsome Sunday School Classes from Monette First Baptist Church. Watermelons were served at the close of the work day, furnished by Clay Stewart.

The New Hope roofing team will be returning to the Smith home soon to install a new roof.

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