Dexter Volunteers Repair Neighborhood Homes During Christmas in Action Event
Twenty residents assisted with home repair and lawn care during the annual one-day volunteer effort.
Volunteers throughout Dexter reached out to low-income, elderly and disabled residents with home repairs on Saturday as part of the national "Christmas in Action" program.
Formerly known as Christmas in April, the one-day event draws on volunteers to help with everything from basic lawn care, to more complex projects like plumbing and handicap ramp installation.
"Our goal is to help folks who aren't able to do some basic repairs to their home that a lot of us take for granted," event coordinator Darrell Featheringill said. "By helping people out by raking their leaves or painting, they can stay in their houses."
Featheringill said most of the jobs come from local churches that reach out to their members and solicit requests for volunteer work.
"We used to get a lot more volunteers, but now we have to compete with other groups and events for people's time," Featheringill said. "I would've liked a few more volunteers this year, however the ones who came out are a great group of men and women."
Whether its installing a new handrail or cleaning up brush, several volunteers said they look forward to the Christmas in Action day every year.
Jeff Dehring said this was his first year participating in the event. Dehring helped lay 20 pounds of grass seed and four bales of hay on a lawn that was damaged by the March 15 tornado.
"I wanted to do my part to help those in need," he said.
Ruth Arnson and her husband donated their Saturday afternoon to help a neighbor demolish a barn that was badly damaged.
"People who needed help after the tornado received a lot of help. Other homes need additional help, so I thought today was a good day to volunteer," she said. "It's a romantic way to spend a Saturday afternoon with my husband."
Featheringill said several local businesses provided discounted supplies for volunteers, who use all of their own tools and equipment to complete the projects. Klapperich Welding provided hand rails and Koch & White Heating and Cooling in Ann Arbor provided furance clean-ups and inspections for elderly residents. Other donations were provied by Hackney Ace Hardware and the Dexter Mill.
Resident Lorie Hollenbeck said she was grateful for the assistance.
"I'm just tickled pink," Hollenbeck said. "My husband is disabled and I was trying to get some jobs done around the house on my own, but I couldn't. Bless these people for wanting to help out their neighbors. I am very helpful and thankful."
Julie Schumaker, Dexter Community Schools Board of Education trustee, said she's been volunteering with Christmas in Action for several years.
"I think Christmas in Action is a great community effort," she said. "I've forged some good friendships with some of the people I've met over the years. It's a great way for neighbors to help neighbors."