Caring Neighbors Replace Disabled Man's Home - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

01/03/05

Caring Neighbors Replace Disabled Man's Home

The new year is shaping up to be a good one for Charlie Hodge.

The Hancock County man lost one home in a fire eight months ago. The place he ended up living after that was a flooded out mobile home. Soon, thanks to the generosity of neighbors, Hodge will have a new place to live.

A volunteer carpenter is busy doing the finishing work on Charlie Hodge's new home. Soon he'll have a place he can get around easily in his wheelchair. He's looking forward decorating his new home.

"I do cartoon drawings. I'll probably hang some of them here in the living room," Hodge said.

Hodge was born with cerebral palsy. The last couple of years presented even more challenges.

Hurricane Isadore flooded his mobile home. FEMA replaced it, but a fire in March destroyed that home. Hodge was forced back into the flood damage mobile home, until, as Hodge says, "The right person just came along."

Chair Rapp was that right person.

"When I saw the conditions that a man in our community was living in, I couldn't turn my back. It was just not something you turn your back on."

Rapp organized a community effort to build a new home for Hodge. Every piece of lumber, every nail and every shingle was donated by local building supply companies. And every hour of labor was done by volunteers.

"Its just a good cause. It makes you feel good to do something for him," volunteer Ray McIntyre said.

"Let's you know that people do care," Hodge said.

Hodge is grateful to live in such a caring community with folks like McIntyre and Rapp. But Rapp credits the Lord with pulling it all together.

"I knew that he would take care of it, that he would pull every individual that needed to be involved in this project together, and he has done it."

Hodge says he just can't wait to move in, but there's one more bit of help still needed - a wheelchair lift.

The folks who built his new home are now trying to raise the $5,000 for the lift. There's an account for donations at any Hancock Bank Branch, or you can contact Chair Rapp at the "Word of Faith Christian Fellowship" at 467-4488.

by Al Showers

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