Edwin McWilliams sat in his front yard Friday listening to hammers ring and power saws whine as about 30 volunteers for the 12th annual River of Life project repaired his roof, replaced trim and painted everything but the bricks on his Irwinton Road house.
McWilliams couldn’t have done the work himself, he said. But after a neighbor had similar repairs done, he called the nonprofit Rebuilding Macon and got on the list.
“I have not heard no profanity on the job since I’ve been out here,” McWilliams said. “That’s unusual for a construction crew.”
But not surprising in this case, since the workers were from Forest Hills United Methodist Church and other Georgia churches partnering with Rebuilding Macon and Habitat for Humanity to provide home repairs for the needy and elderly.
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“Everybody’s real nice,” McWilliams said.
About 200 young people and adults worked on dozens of houses in the area starting Wednesday and continuing through Saturday. This is the 12th year of the local River of Life effort.
Logen Cammack of Glenville, who arrived in town with a crew from New Providence Baptist Church of Effingham, worked on the roofing crew at McWilliams’ house.
“It’s just showing the love of God to people,” Cammack said. What God gave to the volunteers, they can share with others who have less, he said.
“This is actually my first year of doing this,” Cammack said. His brother participated last year and enjoyed it, so Cammack volunteered this year, he said.
Taking a break from shingling the house, Cammack dug his three sandwiches out of a cooler and offered the extras to others. He gave one to McWilliams.
“They’re about as good as they can be,” McWilliams said of the River of Life volunteers.
Jessica Peavy, of Savannah, co-leader of the painting crew, said six churches were represented – five Methodist and one Baptist. She lives in Savannah now but came back to help her friends at Forest Hills United Methodist, she said.
Peavy’s parents, brothers and sister-in-law also were among the volunteers, and she said she started as a child a dozen years ago.
“This is what we do every year,” Peavy said. “My whole family is involved.”
A dozen people painted McWilliams’ house while another dozen worked on the roof, and five or six more handled carpentry tasks, Peavy said. More crews worked on several dozen houses elsewhere around Macon, and some were already finished by Friday, she said.
They were directed to their target houses by Rebuilding Macon, Peavy said.
The children and teenagers working through River of Life could have been at the beach, but instead they actually paid to come and work, she said.
Their contributions helped buy supplies. Rebuilding Macon provided more, and the churches also held fundraisers for the annual project, Peavy said.
To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.