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Love builds a house, provides a home

A saga that began with a telephone call for a house paintingprice quote ended last week with the homeowner receiving a new homebuilt by the painter and volunteers from the community.

“I thank God for blessing us, and I really appreciate what theyhave done,” Amy Sue Robinson said Thursday.

The Concerned Citizens of Lincoln County, an uncharteredcharity, presented her new home to Robinson during a briefceremony.

“This is what can happen when a community comes together,” saidthe Rev. Edward Dillon, pastor of Della Green M.B. Church andHigdon Community Church. “This is all about love andcompassion.”

“It’s paid in full. No money owed,” added a beaming Johnny Hall,a volunteer and plumbing company owner. Hall donated all of histime and plumbing efforts in the project.

In the end, there were too many individuals, churches andbusinesses to name each, said volunteer Carl Brown. The house wasbuilt from the ground up by volunteers using donated materials andlabor.

“We’re ecstatic that it’s done,” he said.

No more so than Robinson, who still can’t believe her goodfortune.

Robinson was living with and assisting her handicapped aunt,Claudia Wallace, in her family’s homestead when she called MelvinBrown, who owns a painting business, for a price quote. Hergrandfather had built the home when he was a young man.

Brown said when he went to the home in the summer of 2005 “Ipassed on by it. It wasn’t worth painting.”

About a month later, the Browns, who are brothers, passed by thehouse and noticed smoke curling from the roof of the home. Theyassumed it was on fire.

They discovered, however, that Robinson was cooking on a woodstove in the heat of a summer day because the house had noutilities and lacked many other modern amenities.

“In this day and age, people shouldn’t have to live that way,”Carl Brown said. “We knew there had to be a way to help.”

Shaken, the Brown brothers began making telephone calls whenthey returned home. Dillon and Hall were two of the first to pledgetheir support to whatever the Browns had planned.

A week later, a meeting was held at a local church involvingmembers of the community and private contractors.

Within weeks, in August 2005, the frame of the house waserected.

The project took much longer than expected. Hurricane Katrinaswept through the area at the end of the month, causing extensivedamage statewide. Further delays developed because with hurricaneclean-up efforts and repairs, volunteers did not have the time todevote to the effort.

The delay did not distress Robinson, however. The house, despitebeing far from complete, was already a boon for the family.

“We’ve been in it almost since they got started,” Robinson said.”From the beginning, we had more access to a lot more conveniencein it.”

The house is not quite complete, Hall said, but only minordetails need to be finished.

“We may find a few more little knickknack things to do, but it’slivable,” he said.

Carl Brown said the the house is virtually complete, but theproject will go on. The community volunteers have agreed to seekanother project after a short breather.

“We’ve had a lot of comments from people in the community aboutit,” he said. “We hope it won’t be the last we do.”