Volunteers bring much-needed home repairs to Chattanooga residents

Volunteers bring much-needed home repairs to Chattanooga residents

June 22nd, 2018 by Rosana Hughes in Local Regional News

Matthew McKenney, of Chicago, paints the foundation portion of a house as Steven Udy, also of Chicago, applies paint from a ladder Thursday.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

Hot temperatures and rain couldn't stop a group of teenagers from working on Betty Freeman's house this week.

The teens were in Chattanooga as part of Group Mission Trips' work camps. The camps bring together hundreds of teenagers from across the country to repair and transform the homes of veterans, elderly, disabled or those on fixed incomes.

Betty Freeman waters her plants as Nancy Goodwin, right, and Scott Metzger prepare to paint the front porch with Coventry Blue and Warm Sunshine hue paint Thursday. Goodwin is youth director at Wheaton First Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Ill.

Betty Freeman waters her plants as Nancy Goodwin,...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

People had to apply to have their homes be on the repair list. The organization partnered with Temple Baptist Church to hand out applications and with the city of Chattanooga to screen applicants.

City workers visited each applicant's home to determine which repairs would be doable within the week the teams would be in town. In the end, 35 applicants were selected. Freeman was one of them.

"They've really been a blessing," she said. "It's just a beautiful thing."

She's lived in her home for 19 years, she said, and she couldn't afford to make any of the repairs her home needed.

The two teams and their adult group leaders were hard at work painting the exterior of the aged yellow-and-green house Thursday. Its new look will be "warm sunshine" yellow and baby blue.

Before giving the exterior a fresh coat of paint, teams had to scrape the old paint off.

Lariah Torrence, 4, gets in on the painting of lattice with Carly Fitz patrick, right, and Elise Davies out back at a home in the Woodmore neighborhood on Thursday.

Lariah Torrence, 4, gets in on the painting...

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.

"It's a little tiring, but it's definitely worth it, seeing the progress and what these five days, what we can actually get done," said Carly Fitzpatrick, a 17-year-old from Batesville, Indiana.

Freeman said seeing the repairs makes her feel good because it's something she'd been wanting to get done for a long time.

"I feel like an angel in heaven," she said. "The Lord has truly blessed me. That bunch of people out there has really been a blessing this week."

It's also been nice seeing how they impact the homeowners and the community, said Catherine Parisi, a 17-year-old from Carmel, Indiana.

"The neighbors have been coming by and just seeing how we're touching the community is just amazing," she said. "So I think it's worth coming out here and sweating for a couple of hours and getting sunburned. It's all worth it."

Contact staff writer Rosana Hughes at rhughes@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6327 with tips or story ideas. Follow her on Twitter @HughesRosana.

Home repair is underway Thursday at this Woodmore neighborhood home. The co-sponsored effort by The city of Chattanooga and Temple Baptist Church has more than 220 high school-age volunteers in action at several area homes. All involved are here with Group Mission Trips.

Photo by Tim Barber /Times Free Press.