Pastor Dwight Kirksey met Leroy George the day that many of the Fritch fire victims made their way into the Celebration Church. However, he began a friendship with George and was touched by the tears the man shed, knowing that all had been lost in the fire.
??He said with tears in his eyes he began to tell me that he lost everything. And I made a statement, at that time I didn??t realize what I was saying, but I knew I was going to make it happen being a man of my word, and I said, ??Leroy, I??ll make sure you get a home,???? said Kirksey.
The problem was Kirksey had never been involved in any sort of rebuild project before. He was not sure what it would require, he just knew he was determined to make it happen. On one of the days cleaning up the affected fire area, Kirksey and a crew of volunteers made their way to George??s lot, cleaning up the rubble and debris. While there, Kirksey talked about his goal of rebuilding the home, and from there, a partnership with Victory Memorial United Methodist Church formed. On Friday and Saturday of last week, the groups were able to complete the outside framing of the home.
??It??s started out as just rubble and burned metal, and now I turn and look behind me, and see what we did over the weekend in tears because it??s hard to fight them back. It??s amazing,?? said Kirksey.
Donnie Wall is the building coordinator behind the project and he said that working on George??s home is privilege and a way to give back to the veteran who gave his time and career to our country.
??That man fought for our country and he??s just an awesome guy. I mean, once you meet him, you just fall in love with the guy,?? said Wall. ??His attitude and what he??s done for this country. SO this is something that we can do to help pay back what he went through.??
Wall talked about the way George sat under the remnants of his old car port, watching the building over the weekend, with a smile crossing his face as he watched the house transform from a concrete slab to the frame of the home.
??Here we are you know we??ve got his house going up and it??s really cool just seeing Leroy George just sit under his car port behind us just watching all the action going on. You know the more that happens, the bigger the smile that he gets,?? said Wall.
For Leroy George, he said this is just another reason why loves Fritch and the community. For him, the experience is ??just wonderful??.
??It??s an amazing effort that everybody is putting into it. Strangers that you never met or seen come in and just working steady without hardly a break, you might say,?? said George.
At this point, the effort to build the home is underway and the goal is to have George in his home by the end of September. However, they are short of funds.
??Leroy is not getting funding from any of those organizations any other organizations, just our two churches and we??re running a little short. I believe estimated project is about 10,000 dollars would help us get there,?? said Kirksey.
To donate to the project, donations can be made online at ourcfc.com and earmarked for Leroy George.