Good Samaritians spread cheer to Caraway family

Tuesday, March 14, 2017
The Brooks family: standing, Matt Lutz, Larry Brooks, Zach Barrett, and seated Kyley Lutz and Carolyn Brooks.

Seventy-five area volunteers arrived early and stayed late to make necessary repairs to the roof and home of Larry Brooks in Caraway.

"The workers were here by 6:30 a.m. Saturday, March 4," Brooks said. "They brought all the necessary roofing, lumber, tools and equipment needed to get the job done. It was amazing to see how organized and committed they were."

Roofers lay plywood to support new metal roof of Brooks home.

Volunteers were made up of workers from New Hope Black Oak, Caraway FBC, Rowe's Baptist Chapel, Caraway Methodist, Monette FBC, Milligan Ridge Baptist, Central Baptist Journey Church, Mt. Zion Baptist, and Crowley's Ridge Development Council, plus many neighbors and friends.

"The workers had not been on the job long when people from the Caraway Methodist Church came to serve breakfast," Brooks said. "Before long people from Rowe's Chapel were setting up a cooker to prepare food for lunch. They were all as busy as bees, going in all directions.

"Little did I know when Terry Couch first approached me offering help to fix and repair my roof, that this would all happen so fast. I told him there were so many people who needed help, that I felt he needed to help them more than me. He told me God had impressed on him they needed to come to my house. I couldn't argue with what God had a part in, and could see that he was very sincere."

Volunteers clean yard and fences surrounding the home.

Couch and the team from New Hope Baptist Church, in Black Oak, make up the "God at Work" local mission group, which was spearheaded by Kenneth Winford. Along with their pastor Rev. Heath Hawkins, the group assesses the needs of the surrounding communities and makes an all-out effort to meet those needs. New Hope serves as headquarters for the mission team, and they have been joined in their effort by other mission groups and teams nearby. Helping at Caraway were six members of the Arkansas State Baptist Convention Disaster Relief team, which consisted of Jimmy Edwards, Joe Little, Robert Chambers, Marsha Chambers, Harold Diggs and Nan Diggs. Tim Wooldridge with Crowley's Ridge Development Council was there with five workers from his team. The Central Baptist Chain Saw group were also on site with their equipment and staff.

Central Baptist Chain Saw team removes a large dead tree from front yard,

"I had a lot of damage done to my roof by the tornado that came through here in 2013," Brooks said. "I have been physically unable to take care of the repair, and couldn't afford to have it done for me. My wife Carolyn has been very sick and has been in the hospital. I had patched the roof the best I could, but a big wind would just come along and blow that off. The team removed damaged roofing, made necessary repairs, and put on a whole new metal roof, in just one day. It was unbelievable. Men were out front and behind the house cutting down dead trees, removing hanging limbs, and even trimming bushes. People were raking, and carrying things to the large burn pit in back of the house. They thought of everything. All of the needs were met, including meals. We never realized how many friends we had, and how much they cared for us until this."

Kenneth Winford and New Hope "God at Work" team prepare a new foundation for metal roof.

The men and women in the group have made 15 roof repairs this past year, plus numerous emergency roof tarping and temporary fixes after storms and high winds came through the area. They have committed themselves to ongoing service to the people in the surrounding communities, in God's name.

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