EAST LAURINBURG — For years, Wanda Perkins has watched the faces of families on television as blindfolds are ripped off and they see, for the first time, a new or rehabbed home standing in front of them.
Though a new abode was not dropped in the place of her aging mobile home in East Laurinburg, Perkins says the repairs started last week by members of First United Methodist Church and Partners in Ministry has made her home feel safe and fresh — and, while watching them at work in her bathroom, she even “shed a little tear.”
“I prayed and I prayed. It’s a prayer answered,” she said. “They sure knew what they were doing.”
Eight church members — five of them high school students supervised by the Rev. Jonathan Jeffries, Parker Coppock, and Chris Hunter — volunteered 110 hours from June 22-26, working to replace rotten flooring from a pipe that burst years ago. Repairs done at the time of the water leak were on the verge of failing, leaving a sagging floor along the circa-1985 trailer’s front wall.
“Our goal was not necessarily just (to work with) the boards and the nails but to build relationships and be the hands and feet of Christ in our community,” Jeffries said.
Perkins saw that firsthand.
“We got together and held group prayer,” she said. “The rooms they worked in, they went and got anointing oil and anointed every one of them. Now, that’s something you don’t see every day.”
Perkins and her husband Billy were both born and raised in Scotland County. Perkins was forced to retire from Scotland Memorial Hospital, where she worked as a Nutritional Care Supervisor, one month shy of her 35th anniversary after she suffered a stroke — and when she tried to return to work, she began to have seizures. Billy Perkins worked for 15 years delivering hot meals to senior citizens before putting in 15 years at Charles Craft in Maxton.
The couple, who has two children, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild on the way, learned of the Rehab Outreach And Recovery (ROAR) program at Partners In Ministry three years ago, and put their names on the waiting list. The program assists those who meet financial and other guidelines with repairs, enlisting the help of local and out-of-state teams for fundraising as well as hammering and nailing.
“The whole week, we didn’t do anything — we didn’t move anything, nothing,” Perkins said, motioning to a room full of child-sized furniture and toys. “They took everything out and put it back. And those young girls, they worked like men. One hit her thumb (with a hammer) and said that’s how she learned, by getting hurt from time to time, and kept right on going.
Another man, she said, ended up falling through the rotten floor under her bathtub but didn’t utter a single complaint. And Tommy Casey, coordinator of the ROAR program, worked until 9 p.m. some nights to fix the bathroom’s plumbing.
“It was a great crew, we couldn’t ask for none better,” Billy said.
Last year, according to Lee Ann Venable, the ministry’s Outreach Coordinator, the program helped 24 families in Scotland and Robeson counties address safety issues in their home, bringing the total served since 2008 to 75. Currently, 50 families are on the waiting list and help is desperately needed, she said.
For information about the program, call 910-277-3355.
Abbi Overfelt can be reached at 910-506-3023.