Franklin / Nashville BasicsTravel

Help Somebody If You Can…

I am reminded of the VanZant song Help Somebody If You Can (…written by none other than Jeffrey Steele).

Here’s the video:

Dorothy's little green house in North Nashville.It’s a song about taking the time to consider what’s important in life, and to help someone in need — if you’re in a position to do so.

Awhile ago, our friend David contacted the church (BCC) with an idea to help “neighbors in need” in the Nashville area.

Months later, the church contacted David asking if he’d like to coordinate a work project to help a family whose house caught on fire, causing significant damage to their kitchen, bedrooms, and bathroom.

David enlisted the help of Jim, and together they rounded up about a dozen other BCC volunteers to give one day of their time (some gave much more) in order to bring this home back up to code.

Here’s the story… in photographs.


Meet Dorothy…

Dorothy's humble abode.

She’s a single mother of five children (ages 5 to 17), and she is thankful for every single thing she’s got.

Her children adore and respect her.

I only met two of them, Antoine and LaShawn, and they were both VERY hard workers!

Dorothy rarely took a break from the cleaning and repairing process herself.

Dorothy worked hard round the clock.


The Race Was On…

There was a lot to get done. And a very short time to do it.

Jim, David and Joel setting the plan for the day's work.

You see, Dorothy’s house was deemed unlivable after the fire. Nearly a total loss, it was all she had, so she did everything in her power to keep it.

All of the electricity needed to be rewired. Dorothy's kitchen after the fire scorched walls had been removed and the new drywall had been applied.

Add to that, the fact that Tennessee’s department of Children’s Protective Services (CPS) would not permit her children to remain in the house under such conditions… forcing them to be separated from their mother and stay with relatives nearby for the time being.

The race was on to get this home back up to code so Dorothy and her children could live comfortably and safely in their home together again.


Assessing The Situation…

Jim and Dorothy examining the hole where the window once was. Jim examining the new ceiling -- inspecting for spots that needs patching prior to painting. You can also spot another Jim who came to volunteer from BCC. He took the lead on all of the painting int the house.

Jim and David discussing the drywall situation -- and what needed re-patched prior to painting. Dorothy and Jim assessing the situation.


Meet Some Of The Volunteers…

Alex painting the kitchen cabinets, after they had been cleaned and sanded -- from all the smoke and soot damage. Alix went above and beyond… she spent several days painting and helping with other detail work.

Angie painting.

Angie devoted a full day to painting.

Antoine painting the bedroom door.

Dorothy’s oldest son, Antoine, wanted to help all he could. Whatever needed done, he did it!

Here, he’s painting the door of his little sister’s room.

Lynnette painting the trim work.

I got in on the action myself for a short time.

I mostly painted the trim around the doors.

Joel played the lead on the windows installation.

Joel was our “window expert” who knew the logistics of framing windows and more.


Too funny..

Dorothy caught her son, LaShawn, napping in a makeshift bed — where his old bed used to be. (She asked me to take this photo.)

LaShawn, his brother, and their mother worked late into the evening and from the wee hours of the morning to get this house in shape.


There Was Plenty Of Action…

Jim drilling wood screws into the shim to trim millimeters off the space where the new window had to fit. Dave hammering the wood shim to make the new window fit.

There was a lot of drilling and hammering.

Antoine standing in the window new the fan. There was no air conditioning on this, one of our first hot days of the summer.

But there wasn’t much cool air circulating in this tiny space.


And Then, There Was The Window…

The 2 windows in the kitchen were shattered by firemen trying to gain entry and put out the fire. Temporarily, Dorothy had nailed plywood over the windows in order to keep the house secure.

The 2 new windows made quite a difference in this tiny kitchen when it was all said and done, but it took a good amount of “workin’ it” to get the new windows to fit right.

Dave and Joel preparing to set the new window in the spot where the old window was. Dave and Dorothy's son, Antoine, examining the window situation.

Question: How many people does it take to put in a window? Answer: more than three. Turns out, they put the window in the wrong direction -- it's supposed to slide open from side to side, not up and down.


Just Scratching The Surface

This documents a mere fraction of all the hard work that took place on behalf of BCC volunteers at the home of a needy neighbor. Many more people pitched in and completed many other projects in an effort to bring this house up to code after a devastating fire.

The result: A job well done. And a personal sense of satisfaction felt by all who were involved.

Jeffrey's Steele's 'Help Somebody If You Can' tattoo -- photographed at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville.

We could. And we did…
Help somebody if YOU can.


UPDATE: David shares a few more pictures that he and Alex took at Dorothy’s house:

BCC volunteers... Anna and Jason. Joe and Dorothy's son, Antoine.

Another BCC volunteer helping out. Dorothy and her son, LaShawn.

Joel and Joe -- two of the hardest working BCC volunteers around! Food for the volunteers helping with Dorothy's house.

A volunteer painter from BCC. BCC volunteers painting.