by April Lovette
It was a humbling sight for onlookers last night at the corner of Hickory and Long in Hope, Arkansas. David “Boomer” Williams’ looked on with appreciation and pride as members of the community came together to assist in the clearing of his former home which was destroyed during the severe winter storm in February. The heavy weight of snow on the roof put too much strain on the structure causing the walls to buckle and the roof to cave. The entire house was ruined, as well as most everything inside, leaving Williams with little hope and a heavy heart.
Last night, though, was cause for celebration and a renewal of spirit for Williams as several organizations and churches collaborated to clear the debris and clean the property in preparation for a new house that will be built by the First Baptist Church of Hope’s addiction recovery ministry, the Banner Hope Center. This ministry, led by Pastor Daniel Bramlett, keeps a running cycle of devoted guys who commit to these projects. They have already completed six re-models of homes in the area; this is their first build and demolition. City Board Director Reginald Easter spread the word this week, recruiting the assistance of, at least, 14 local organizations and churches to assist in the property clearing. As Easter directed trucks and trailers in and out of the site, volunteers hauled away load after load of splintered wood, broken shingles, and crushed furniture. Refreshments for the volunteers were donated by Ambrosia Lodge #224. Even former mayor of Hope, Floyd Young, stopped by to show his support and bear witness to the amazing contributions made by friends, neighbors, and other individuals from the community. Representatives from the following organizations donated time, labor, materials, trucks, and/or trailers: A-State Corvette Club, Christian Motorcycle Club, Rising Star Baptist Church, Ambrosia Lodge #224, Haynes Chapel Baptist Church, Diamond Cutters Motorcycle Club, No Limit Riders Motorcycle Club, Hair Hut, Life House Ministries, Kiwanis Club of Hope, City of Hope Police Department, Hope Public Schools’ Board of Education, City of Hope, and First Baptist Church of Hope.
As the night progressed and the debris dwindled, the atmosphere was laden with laughter and joy as the shared vision of so many was realized. The pride of a community coming together as one for a neighbor was contagious, and a new hope radiated from Williams. He said, “Everyone came together. You can see within a short time how much has been done…. It feels good.”
This was the first step of many toward that end goal of getting Boomer Williams a house to replace the one he lost. Some say there is no place like home. All who were present at the corner of Hickory and Long last night can also agree, there is no place like Hope.
Stay tuned to Swark.Today for continuing coverage of this story.