For over a year now, something special has been taking place on the corner of Hickory and Long in Hope, Arkansas.
Beginning in February of last year, any passerby could see the wreckage of David Lee “Boomer” Williams’ destroyed home which buckled under the weight of the snow in the winter storm. Then, the scenery of this particular lot began to change. In March, many community organizations, clubs, and individuals were observed donating time and effort to assist in the clearing of the lot. People from all walks of life came together to help a fellow citizen in need. In the months following, onlookers passing this intersection on any given day could see a few guys diligently working and that the frame of a new home was beginning to take shape. Those guys were from Banner Hope, First Baptist Church of Hope’s addiction recovery ministry, and they continued their mission to build Williams a new home, rain or shine, and soon they had a roof, walls, and more. Most important though, as each month led to another, and neighbors and friends gradually watched Williams’ new home forming from the ground up, what they were also witnessing was a different type of foundation being laid, one that has resulted in a testimony of a community’s camaraderie, fellowship, and faith.
The end result? Williams was able to stay in his new home for the very first time last night.
Throughout this journey, SWARK.Today has kept in touch with Williams and the Banner Hope guys and those chronicles can be found in the articles There’s No Place Like Hope and There’s No Place Like Hope Pt 2. We touched base with them again now that the project is in its final stage. The house is near enough to completion that Williams can begin living there. A few finishing touches need to be made, once funding allows and the wet weather clears, but the finish line is in sight and Williams now gets to reside again in a place he can call home.
At the time of the loss of his childhood home, Williams had a heavy heart and was unsure how to proceed. However, after the outpouring of love from the community and the dedication of Banner Hope to build him his very own tiny house, Williams says he now feels hope again. “I’m so thankful for Banner Hope building the house and all the people in the community who have donated things,” Williams said. “But it’s not just the house that makes me happy and proud. I feel like I’m starting a new life, and I want to keep moving forward. All of this is by the grace of God.”
Every piece of this house and its contents come from donated funds and items. The funding and construction came from Banner Hope, and after finishing their first tiny house, the guys say more will come. Banner Hope is partnered with the twelve-month RSAT (Residential Substance Abuse Treatment) Program of Hempstead County. The goal of the program is to break the cycle of drugs and violence by reducing the demand for, use, and trafficking of illegal drugs in Hempstead County. First Baptist Pastor Daniel Bramlett says the Banner Hope Center will soon have their first full-time residents, and part of their community service will be building more tiny houses all around the area. He says they now have their own sawmill, which in addition to cutting costs, will allow the Banner Hope guys to put together the walls and floor joists, wall plates, trusses, and similar necessary items for construction.
Bramlett said Project Manager Eric Turner and Worship Pastor Mike Trickett were two constants throughout the completion of Williams’ home, and that the great skill of electrician Joe Mac Raschke and plumber Coy Tucker were huge assets, in addition to the foundation work by Dave Christy and the multiple organizations who assisted with demo like local churches and the A State Corvette Club. He said from the start of this project, though, the most important aspect of maintaining progress was keeping faith. Funding and necessary items would become available every time something was needed. “It’s been so cool to see how when we needed something like the floor, shower, refrigerator, or stove… right when it was needed, it appeared,” Bramlett said. “We kept faith that God would see us through, and He did. The needs have all been met.”
Neighbors, friends, and fellow citizens have donated clothes, furniture, appliances, and other household items to help Williams get started in his new home. These aren’t just Hope residents either. People from other towns like Texarkana and Bismark have assisted and donated once they heard Williams’ story and that Banner Hope was building him a new home. Banner Hope Director Rusty Beck said seeing the reaction from the community and observing the Banner Hope guys as they build their first tiny house has been amazing to watch. “The first house has been a long process, but I think the fruit of it, helping David out and seeing the community rally together, as well as people from all over, has been great to see,” Beck said. “We see people having soft hearts for ministries like this, and the Lord has been good with provision.”
Beck said getting these men involved in something like this, not only builds their skill set, but gets them in an active service, and that’s key for those coming out of addiction. “Addiction is self-seeking and selfish. We want to teach these guys to serve others and have that servant’s heart and give back,” Beck said. “That is going to be a key part of the program; their recovery is being able to do community service and work projects.”
Williams’ home is the blueprint for the ones to follow. These homes are not only built with entirely donated funds, but also constructed with energy-efficiency in the forefront of planning, which should cut down on future utility costs. Williams’ home was built with double insulation in the attic and walls, an energy-saving hot water heater, all LED lights, and other energy-efficient items. Williams said his youngest daughter traveled from Little Rock recently for a visit and he was so proud to show her his new home.
Over the last year, as pedestrians and travelers observed the progress of Williams’ home being built and witnessed the extraordinary acts of kindness and goodwill taking place, many expressed feeling something tangible in the air. Some might call it magical or miraculous. Williams and the guys from Banner Hope will tell you it’s called faith, fellowship, and community. As Williams has said before when talking about walking down the street and waving at the neighbors, “There aren’t many places left where you can do that. Hope still has that close, family atmosphere.” He’s right. There aren’t many places left where a community rallies such as this one did to help a man in need, or many places where the county’s law enforcement will partner with a local church to provide a program geared for rehabilitation and serving others. Everyone who has been involved in this project from the start, or even those who have just happened by Hickory and Long lately, can visibly see the shining example of true service that now sits on this lot. All can still attest, though, that there is no place like Hope.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to funding for the finishing touches of David Williams’ home ,more tiny houses, or Banner Hope Center can go to the FBC of Hope website and click Banner Hope Center.