Local church renovates home for veteran

Bishop Barry Washington (Left) poses with veteran Eugene Mitchell.

Local church renovates home for veteran
June 20
09:50 2019

Back in 2013, Whole Man Ministries renovated several duplex apartments to provide low income housing for homeless veterans on Cameron Avenue. The church is again close to completing a new project for yet another veteran on Peden Street.

The house on Peden Street has taken nearly three years to complete due to shortcomings with finances, said Whole Man Ministries senior pastor Bishop Barry Washington. He was determined to see the property come to completion, so he stayed dedicated throughout the entire process.

“This is breath of fresh air, because after two and a half years of working on this project, it has been very tedious,” said Washington. “We have had to go all the way from the bottom to the top in order to rehab this, so it feels really good to turn this over to a veteran.”

The house will go to Eugene Mitchell, who is a veteran of the U.S. Military. Mitchell was very appreciative to the church for completing the project on his behalf. He has been witness to the house as it was gutted down to the frame, until now with the finishing touches going in.

“I really thought this would never happen, but it’s happening and I see it now,” Mitchell said with tears in his eyes. “It feels good and it makes me feel better about being a veteran, because I see the work that is getting done.

“I was astonished, because seeing the way it was gutted out and seeing the ground, then seeing everything come together, made me feel I was blessed. I didn’t think it could happen to me.”

Some may have given up after having a project take this long to complete. Washington said he knew what this property meant for someone else, so he had to do whatever it took to see it completed.

“Part of the reason that kept me motivated was the purpose for it and it was to make a better place for a veteran,” he said. “The other reason was the volunteers. Occasionally the property may sit dormant for a while and someone would call and say they have ten volunteers that would like to come out and give you some support.

“Occasionally we get somebody like BB&T come out and bring 30 employees and $2,500 towards materials. That motivates you right there and we have had another young man, Mr. Anderson, come out and donate his time and energy to build the wall. When you have volunteers like that, that belief in this type of project can motivate you.”

Whole Man Ministries is not a large church, but Washington said he saw a need once he visited Samaritan Ministries and felt he needed to do something.

“It seems like when I sat down to play chess with the guys, everybody who sat down at the table was a veteran,” said Washington. “Each of them had a different story and the stories were simple stories that would land someone in a homeless situation. I just thought, what could we do?

“If it had to be one word, it would be faith, because we didn’t have the money, we didn’t have the means, all we had was the vision. The Lord just spoke to me and said, ‘let’s do this.’  So many businesses, organizations and individuals came on board and wanted to be a part of it.”

John Woodmansee is a volunteer from The Shepherd’s Center. He has put in countless volunteer hours and as a veteran himself, he was pleased to help.

“It’s nothing really noble, it’s more that I like to keep busy and I am an Air Force veteran in the Korean period,” he said. “I have a special place in my heart for the men and women that were in the service, because they are sometimes discriminated against and nobody talks about that.”

Washington and Mitchell were very appreciative toward the volunteers for the work they put into the property.  “I am so happy and I hope this kind of work continues, because it’s a lot of guys out here that need a place to stay. I was one of the blessed ones and I thank God this was done for me and my wife.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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