Operation Stephen: Carrying On A Legacy - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Operation Stephen: Carrying On A Legacy

The Necaise family met Nelson Chandler nearly eight months ago.

"This was one of our early work assignments back in the end of March and at that time it was simply to muck out the house. They had had up to 6 feet of water here."

Right away, they developed a relationship.

"They were the All-American story. The great-grandfather had built the house some 60 years ago. There's a cute little boy named Stephen running around and his father was raising him as a single parent. His name was Jarrod."

Jarrod's mom, Shelia Necaise, says he had hoped to rebuild the home his own father and grandfather had once built.

"Jarrod was going to do it all. He had plans. As we tore things out, he would say how he was going to redo it. "

Then the unthinkable happened. Shelia sent Nelson and all the volunteers a note, telling them Jarrod had been killed in a car accident.

Nelson says, "We realized she was going to be raising Stephen, her grandson, on her own, and she didn't have a very good house or no house to do it in."

So the Missionary Supply Network decided to adopt Stephen and build him a new home. Shelia was in tears.

"They developed Operation Stephen and it's just been like home makeover. People from everywhere have come. It's just been so wonderful."

Albert Lizana is Stephen's Great Grandfather. He couldn't believe his eyes, when he saw the transformation of the house he helped build nearly 60 years ago.

"This is unbelievable. If you could have seen it when these good people came and started working on it, taking all that sheetrock and stuff out - it looked like it was ready to go to the dump."

Stephen's Great Grandmother takes care of Stephen three days a week. She, too, was amazed at what the volunteers had accomplished in only six months.

"There's no words to express it. We're just so thankful. We've had so many angels that's come down here to see us and to take care of Stephen and build him a house."

But for Nelson and his crew, building this house was a privilege.

"They're very kind loving people, and to see the multiple generations which you see here. You know a two year old with great grandparents who are raising him basically. It's just very moving."

Nelson says Stephen and his grandmother should be able to move in the home by the end of the month.

by Meggan Gray

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