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Christmas in Action restores house fit for a ‘King’
04/05/2016 - By FEATURES@TRCLE.COM - Cleburne Times Review
A 65-year-old Cleburne woman said she is counting her blessings twice after Christmas in Action volunteers spent Saturday morning restoring the home she has lived in the past 25 years.

CIA is a nonprofit volunteer organization that repairs homes for elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners in Cleburne.

Shortly after Barbara King lost her husband to diabetes, she developed health problems of her own that made it difficult to make any of the home’s much needed repairs.

“After my husband passed away about 10 years ago I got rheumatoid arthritis,” King said.“It has made it hard to be able to do much of anything.”

Also barely making ends meet, King began baby-sitting the children of several of Cleburne’s police dispatchers to earn extra income.

“That’s how we found out about Mrs. King,” CIA Secretary Teresa Bednar said. “This last fall one of the dispatchers called us and said Mrs. King had severe water leaks and that her water bill was $600.”

Bednar said King believed she wouldn’t be able to hire a plumber to fix the issues so she continued to pay her water bill.

“Christmas in Action hired Layland Plumbing Co. to go out there and redo all the plumbing and stop the water leak,” Bednar said. “The city has even given her a credit back for some of her water loss.”

Since then, CIA has provided more than $12,000 worth of repairs to King’s home, including the demolition and removal of a dilapidated shed, construction of a new porch, removal of dead trees and installation of new outdoor lighting.

“That’s a pretty good improvement,” Bednar said. “It takes all of that and more to get some of these houses to where they need to be.”

King said she is thankful beyond what words could say.

“It just blows my mind that so many people came out here to do something for me,” King said. “I am truly honored and eternally grateful; there really are no words to say how touched I am.”

On Saturday, CIA volunteers spent the day transforming the exterior of King’s house from a pink to a coastal blue color, whichshe said she loves. “If I could, I would volunteer so I could bless someone the way I’ve been blessed,” King said. “Not only that but you get to meet all of these wonderful people who are strangers but end up being like family. You can just tell their hearts are in the right place.” Local business, civic organizations, individuals and churches help sponsor house repairs through donations of funds, volunteers or skilled services — all repairs are made at no expense to the homeowner.

April Chesshir of Godley volunteered for CIA for the first time on Saturday with her 11-year-old son, Landon.

“It was such a great day contributing to such a wonderful cause with other members of the community,” Chesshir said. “Everyone was there with one goal in mind and that was to assist the people in need in our very own town.”

Chesshir said she admires how well CIA coordinated the volunteer day and how everything came together so effortlessly.

“Landon and I were very blessed to be a part of such a great cause,” Chesshir said. “We are looking forward to the next project.”

CIA volunteers have tackled more than 300 projects in Cleburne since 2000.

For more information about CIA, visit www.christmasinaction.net.
On the web: CleburneTimesReview.com

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