Taking the initiative
"Storms are a horrible thing," Pastor of Hardy United Methodist Church Brien Nix-Hall said. "But, it is a time that brings out the good and the bad."
It seems the residents of Sharp County have pulled together to show they can out-weigh the bad in their area. There have been a number of reports from various people stating their appreciation for those who volunteered their time and efforts during this time of need in the area.
While most of the time going out and cleaning up someone's yard might seem like a simple task, after the winter storm it has been anything but a simple task. A group of teenage boys showed their desire to help their fellow man by cleaning debris out of people's yards who may have other wise had to pay someone to do so.
Hall said he was sitting at home, without power like most, when a couple of young men showed up at his house. The boys, Justin Bryant, Cody Tipton, Landon Strobbe, Ben Reed, Blake Martin, Brent Lowe, Skyler Jones, Austin Tipton and Jake Horton, asked Hall if he would help them go out and clean-up debris for people who couldn't do it themselves. Hall said the boys had taken the initiative, all he did was agree to supervise and lend some equipment.
"Our choices were, sit in our homes with no power and feel sorry for ourselves or get out and do something," Hall said. "So we got out and gathered five or six chain saws and a trailer and got to work." He said he and the young men cleaned the Hardy United Methodist Church's yard as well as two other churches in Hardy but the boys didn't want to stop there.
"At first their goal was to see how many yards they could clean," Hall said. "But then they were like, 'that guys on a walker, we have to help him, or she's in a wheelchair let's stop there.'" By the time the week was over and the boys had to return to school they had cleaned 26 yards in seven days.
The boys met every morning and according to Hall they were never late and they never had to be told what to do, they just did it. They would work from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day getting as much done for others as they could. "One women thanked us so much the boys said it made them want to cry," Hall said.
Hall said the boys turned down all money they were offered, they did it strictly as volunteer work. The group cleaned yards in Salem, Hardy, Cherokee Village and Glencoe. There were a couple of yards the group cleaned-up where the residents were not home, one was in the hospital with a broken hip. Hall said they didn't leave a note or anything they just did what they were there to do and left hoping when the residents returned home they would have one less thing to worry about.
Marlene and Jim Sawyer were among the people the group helped. "We are extremely appreciative of what those young men did," Marlene said. "The efforts of those young men show their compassion for other people, they are fine young men and they did a great job."
Hall said he thinks the group gained a lot from this experience and he is very proud of them all. "When you have 17 year-olds that take the initiative to do something like this at that age," Hall said. "Imagine what they could do with the rest of their lives."