For the past few years, RiverTown Community Church (RCC) has put on the July 3 fireworks event at Sam Atkins Park as a service to the community, funding everything from hot dogs to the sky show.
This year, RCC has decided to serve the community in a different way by reaching out to neighbors in need.
Pastor Paul Smith recently challenged members to give 1% of their time this summer to meet a need or help a cause in the community. If all the members participate, it would result in 20,000 hours of service over the summer. No sooner had the plans been announced that a need arose.
Back in the early 80s, R.L. and Hilda Alford, along with their children, Jonathan and Juanice, became the focus of a community drive to build them a home. Hilda has been a quadriplegic since an accident six months after she and R.L. were married. Despite her handicap, they managed to have two children. Over the years, money was tight and they soon needed a better place to live. The Mennonite Disaster Service led the effort to assist them and the community got involved. Before long, President Ronald Reagan had even helped out with a donation and personally called the Alfords. There was a huge celebration the day they stepped into their new residence.
Fast forward over two decades later. R.L. and Hilda are still living in their home on Parrish Lake Road, but a couple weeks back, a heavy downpour resulted in Stafford Creek spilling waters onto their property. Six inches wound up in the house. Hilda had to be rushed out on a stretcher and the family was left trying to clean up the water damage.
Juanice Alford Johnson said just days before she had told her dad she wished she could help him do some repairs to the house. Now, problems seemed overwhelming with the water damage that could quickly turn to a mold problem.
Enter RCC members who quickly answered the need. A dumpster arrived. Dozens of volunteers showed up, pulling up carpet. Then, over the weekend, more came to help. They cleaned, they painted, they even did yard work.
“It’s just overwhelming,” said Johnson as she stared out at over 30 cars in her parents’ front yard. Volunteers of all ages, from kids on up to older folks, were giving their time to not only clean the water damage, but do other improvements.
Johnson thought back to the day she said out loud to her father how she wished she could help him. She is confident God heard her and she believes it was no accident their house was the only one in the area with water damage.
“It’s rained for months and that creek has never flooded like this,” Johnson remarked.
As RCC continues the series known as “Living Beyond Myself”, they are accepting home renovation project suggestions. If you know of a potential project, email LBMideas@river town.cc. Give as many details as possible along with contact information.