Last spring we brought you the story of David “Boomer” Williams, a man whose house collapsed during the winter storm and was set on the path to receiving a new home as the result of a compassionate community’s neighborly goodwill. There’s No Place Like Hope shared with readers how multiple organizations and individuals from the area graciously came together to help clear the property so Banner Hope could begin building a new home for Williams. For this reporter, it was a powerfully moving experience. Standing there amid the home’s destruction, while watching fellow citizens from varying backgrounds and different walks of life come together and work harmoniously to help this one man in his time of need… well, it was a privilege to witness. In order to give our readers an update, I checked in with Williams and the guys from Banner Hope; plus, I visited the site to see the progress of the build. That feeling remains.
At the corner of Hickory and Long on a cold day with biting wind, two men could be seen adding the finishing touches to an exterior wall of Williams’ soon-to-be home. Eric Turner and Mike Trickett from Banner Hope, First Baptist Church of Hope’s addiction recovery ministry, willingly greeted the elements to finish the day’s goal so they could get the structure wrapped before the fast-approaching, wet weather set in. These two volunteers have been working on the house for awhile now; sometimes they’ve had a bigger crew, but many times it’s been just the two of them. Yet, they remain as dedicated and passionate about their mission as they did at the start of this project. When asked what has motivated him to approach an endeavor of this size with such a positive mindset, Turner’s reply was honestly simple, “There was a need that had to be met.” Turner then explained that the purpose of the ministry is for guys to take their skill and use it to give back and serve. “The first thing we learn after being saved is to use that gift to provide for others,” Turner said. “This is the Lord’s work, and every bit of this is for David.”
What Turner and Tricket shared next was even more compelling. Every bit of work done so far has been made possible by generous donations of money, materials, labor, and more. The tin for the roof, the exterior siding, the concrete, two doors, multiple cinder blocks, and all the windows were donated, as well as money for the wood, and then a local sawmill even gave them a discount. An outpouring of love and fellowship surrounded this project from the very start, and it has prevailed unwaveringly.
What’s next for this project? A licensed plumber and electrician will need to come in for installation, and then flooring, ceiling, and walls will have to be placed. After that, counters, appliances, and furniture will provide the finishing touches and then David Williams will be home. They still need a few of the materials and funding to finish, but during every meeting with Turner and Trickett, the two have never demonstrated worry or stress. Instead, they have emanated a sense of serenity and optimism, and have said with conviction, “The Lord will provide.”
Williams’ response to this remarkable generosity was, and still is, an overwhelming sense of reverence and amazement. In addition to the volunteers and donations which made construction possible, Williams said he’s had numerous people in the community give him clothes, bedding, and other necessities. “I still can’t believe all this has been done for me,” Williams said. “It’s a true blessing and I feel so grateful. I know God’s hand is in this.” When visiting the site, one can see small notes written in pencil on the lumber all around the structure. Williams wrote notes of inspiration and gratitude like “Thank You Lord” in random places so he could share his heartfelt appreciation for this “incredible gift.”
Williams doesn’t consider just the property as home. For him, his neighborhood and the city of Hope are equally as important. The family home lost in the storm was the same home his parents lived in when he was born, and he’s lived in Hope for his entire life. So after the house collapsed, Williams was faced with the heartbreaking decision of moving away from Hope. Now, though, because of the kind contributions of others, he can remain in his hometown. “This is still a place where you can walk down the street and wave at your neighbors,” Williams said. “There aren’t many places left where you can do that. Hope still has that close, family atmosphere. This is still home for me.”
One can also see that this is still a place where a man can reach out to his neighbor in a time of need and the community will happily lend a hand. That compassion, friendship, and humanity are still the norm, and not the exception. And that even during the darkest of times, grace can be found, and a blessing revealed. Anyone who’s driven near the corner of Hickory and Long lately and observed the progress of Williams’ new home can also agree that there’s still no place like Hope.
Anyone who wishes to participate in the completion of David Williams’ home and would like to donate time, materials, labor, or skills can contact Pastor Daniel Bramlett or Eric Turner at First Baptist Church of Hope.
Anyone who would like to make a donation to funding can go to the FBC of Hope website and click David Williams Tiny House.