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Salkehatchie youth fix houses

  • Thursday, July 31, 2014

Clayton Stairs/South Strand News From left, Grace, 15, and Chloe, 15, both of Camden, are serving with Salkehatchie for the first time. They are working on a house for Joseph “Joe Joe” Myers of Murrells Inlet.

A disabled Murrells Inlet man, who was in a coma for six months, now has a place to live, thanks to young people who decided to give up part of their summer vacation to help fix people’s houses.

“I am really blessed,” said Joseph “Joe Joe” Myers of Turntable Road after the work was done on his house.

“I prayed to God that somebody come and help me with my house and my prayers were answered. I want to thank everyone and I want them to know I appreciate everything.”

Myers, a Murrells Inlet native, said he suffered a bad infection and was in a coma for six months after an operation to have his colon removed.

At the time, he was in the process of renovating his house, but was left unable to continue the work due to his disability.

He said he should be able to move into his house next week after electric work is completed.

Belin Memorial United Methodist Church welcomed 30 youth and 11 adults from around the state to the area from July 19 to 26 for the Creekside Salkehatchie Summer Service.

Salkehatchie is an annual program through the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Debbie Leonard, coordinator for the Creekside Salkehatchie Summer Service, said this was the first year Belin participated in the program, but she thinks it will be an annual event.

“We had a great week,” Leonard said.

“We built or repaired porches and rotten steps, and replaced plumbing, flooring and roofs. Our motto is to ‘make homes warmer, safer and dryer.’”

This is Leonard’s fourth year being involved with Salkehatchie.

She said there are 50 camps across the state over the summer with about 3,000 campers.

The group worked on four houses, including the Myers house and three houses between Murrells Inlet and Socastee.

When the group arrived at the Myers house, Leonard said, the house was basically gutted.

The group added walls and carpet, fixed the roof, put in a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom, and painted the inside and outside of the house.

Electricity and plumbing were installed by professionals.

They also brought furniture including a dining room set, armoire, lamps, end tables, microwave oven, appliances, coffee pot, plates and pots.

Sherry Harmon, an adult site leader at the Myers house, commented that everyone at the site worked hard.

Gray, 16, of Goldsboro, N.C., and Josh, 17, of Georgetown, both first timers with Salkehatchie, were putting up trim in the entrance to the living room.

Gray said his youth leader told him about the program and he thought it would be “cool to build stuff and help people in need.”

“We helped change this man’s life,” Gray said.

“I’m glad I decided to do it. It has been a great experience.”

Georgie, 16, of Lancaster, was painting in the kitchen.

This was her second time with Salkehatchie.

“I think this is a good way to give back,” she said while singing to a country song on the radio.

Chloe, 15, and Grace, 15, both of Camden, were with Salkehatchie for the first time and had no experience renovating houses.

They were also painting.

“It is hard work, but fun too,” Grace said.

“I think it is better than sitting around at home,” Chloe said.

“It gives you a good feeling to help people and you get to try to do new things. We are learning as we go.”

Kinley, 20, of Lancaster, said this was her fifth year with Salkehatchie.

“This experience helps you appreciate what you have and where you came from,” she said.

“It helps you grow in your faith and your relationship with God.”

For more information about the Salkehatchie Summer Service, visit www.salkehatchie.org.

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