Stanley B. Rodgers is the kind of guy who not only would give you the shirt off his back, but the blood in his veins.
The 69-year-old U.S. Navy veteran donated his 185th pint of blood last week, but has been struggling to keep up his house.
“The ceilings were black, the walls were black. It was smoke from his gas heaters that were malfunctioning over the years,” said Tommy Dobbins, board president of the Fuller Center for Housing of Macon.
The only source of running water was Rodgers’ bathroom sink.
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“He washed dishes in his bathroom sink. He took his bath in his bathroom sink,” Dobbins said. “His kitchen sink didn’t work, his kitchen cabinets were deplorable. Just time had taken a toll on things.”
Rodgers’ uncle built the house in 1962, and it had been in the family ever since.
“I’ve been trying to get everything going, but it’s been a lot of problems,” said Rodgers, who also volunteers as a chaplain with Disabled American Veterans.
In January, Cheryl Sanders from Fuller’s family selection committee visited Rodgers to review his application for assistance.
She was taken by his honesty and sense of service.
“He’s a veteran. We needed to give back to him,” Sanders said.
His home on Perry Avenue off of Columbus Road was chosen for Fuller’s Renew program where more than $5,000 helps renovate and repair homes with volunteer labor.
Candace Fry and her two children, Camille, 10, and John Thomas, 7, pitched in to help scrub the sooty residue from the walls and paint.
“We had a veteran, living in a house without a working toilet,” said Fry, who brought her family back to the house Sunday to celebrate the renovations to date.
Camille was relieved to see the carpet had been replaced and the once-black bookshelves were gleaming white.
Mercer University students Airica Huntoon and Taylor Chestnutt also spent a couple days on the project, which included ripping out the broken old mint green toilet and cast iron tub.
“We’ve done quite a bit to this house. It was in poor shape, especially the kitchen and the bathroom,” said Diane Fuller, daughter-in-law of Habitat for Humanity founders Millard and Linda Fuller.
The Fullers started their international center 10 years ago.
Macon’s organization formed four years ago to serve Bibb, Houston, Twiggs, Crawford, Jones and Monroe counties.
They not only replaced Rodgers’ lower kitchen cabinets, and got his kitchen sink and toilet working, but they have put in a new breaker to run air conditioning in his bedroom and are looking for a heater to install.
“We just believe that every person should have a place to call their own, that it’s a basic human right,” said Fuller. “We do this because of our faith, because of the love God has for us and therefore that we have for other people.”
Volunteers, including board member June O’Neal, also strive to be a support system for people like Rodgers, whose wife died more than 10 years ago.
“We just try to get to know the people and be there for them,” O’Neal said. “I’m looking for him a kitchen table now.”
She already found him some used living room furniture.
“It’s a lot of help,” Rodgers said. “They’re A-OK.”
Fuller also presented him with a “blessing box” full of donation envelopes so he can help offset the cost of materials, when he is able.
“That money can go to help another family,” Rodgers said, as she presented the gift. “So in reality, you’re continuing the blessing on, and your gifts back to the Fuller Center will help someone else.”
To contact writer Liz Fabian, call 744-4303 and follow her on Twitter @liz_lines.