Mr. Handyman donates time, repairs for Service Day
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kris Woody unscrewed the first of at least 10 lamps from the yellow walls at Rea of Hope Tuesday.
The carpenter then patched over each hole to cover any sign that the broken white lamps ever hung in the recovery home for women on Charleston's East End.
Woody -- and his Mr. Handyman co-worker Tim Goff, a technician -- each repaired doors, lights, leaks and bathroom vents for eight hours on Tuesday.
And they did it free of charge.
For the fourth year in a row, Mr. Handyman's workers donated a full day's work at the transitional home for women in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction in honor of the National Day of Service and Remembrance.
In 2009, Congress designated Sept. 11 as a day to engage in charitable services as an annual tribute to the victims, survivors, and responders from the terrorist attacks 11 years ago, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Woody -- who brought a "tool for just about every job they have on their list to fix" -- spent his entire workday at Rea of Hope for the first time.
"I believe they've got a good cause here so we want to help out as much as possible," he said as he stood in front of the Lee Street home. "There is an ongoing drug and alcohol problem here and everybody they help is another person. Today is a day of people coming together as a community and helping each other."
Mr. Handyman's owner, Greg Paxton, said he knows he is losing money by sending half of his workers to Rea of Hope -- only four men work for the state's first Mr. Handyman franchise Paxton opened in 2009.
But he also recognizes that his workers' time is not being wasted.
Rea of Hope is a structured living environment that promotes self-sufficiency and Paxton appreciates that the women are making an effort to get better.
The 12-step program is worthwhile and successful, he said.
"They started out as customers and they just stole our hearts," Paxton said. "We have a moral obligation to the community. I really enjoy giving to those that appreciate it. And I really like to help those who are helping themselves. It's not a handout at all."
Paxton said the first year he sent just one man to check off repair requests on the organization's list for the National Day of Service.
But the projects grew.
Last year, two men assembled a front porch for the newly renovated recovery home Rea of Hope purchased on Beauregard Street.
Rea of Hope now owns four properties -- one home and one apartment complex each on Lee and Beauregard Streets -- where 23 women live and repairs are always needed, said Elaine Secrist, associate director of Rea of Hope.
Secrist said the group considers Mr. Handyman's staff friends and supporters.
As much as the women value the wear-and-tear fixes Woody and Golf repaired on the National Day of Service, Paxton and his workers frequently stop by to check on them, Secrist said.
"It is not just one day with Mr. Handyman. Today is extra nice but he always takes time to explain to us and help us," Secrist said. "But today is all free and, as a nonprofit, it's wonderful. We're so appreciative."
Reach Megan Workman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-5113.