'Love thy neighbor' volunteers fix houses for free
There are no stoplights in Viburnum, Missouri.
And there are no strangers.
"You know everybody here. Everybody knows each other," explains resident Kira Altom.
On this day, this town of 700 seems more peaceful than usual but that's because many residents are just up the road raising the roof.
The construction business around here is booming.
"This year, we are doing four projects. Three roofs and one deck job," explains Pastor Justin Perry.
But the people doing this work aren't carpenters or electricians. In fact, they're not even getting paid. They are volunteers with a project called "Love Thy Neighbor."
"It's a really cool thing to just get to see everybody come together for one purpose," says organizer Brandt Hubbs.
"Love Thy Neighbor" began at the First Baptist Church of Viburnum. Congregants had spent years taking mission trips all over the country.
"And so we kind of sat around one day and we're like why can't we do that here?" recalled Pastor Perry.
As the volunteers were giving their time, Wanda Hedrick was giving thanks. After all, she lives here.
"These young people are really dear to me and to come in and to do this for us, it was just amazing," Hedrick said.
The project may be new but the faces aren't. Hedrick taught third grade at the local school for more than 40 years.
"I taught a lot of them in school. And if I didn't have them, I probably taught their mother, father or both," she told us.
Now all this fixing couldn't have had better timing. Wanda lives here with her son, another well-known community member. Dave Hedrick is Viburnum's police chief, who also happens to be fighting cancer.
"It means everything," he said fighting back tears.
"Love thy neighbor" is funded entirely by donations. Though the town is less than two square miles, it's heart is much bigger.
"I can't tell you how many have sent me a check for a thousand, two thousand, three thousand," adds Pastor Perry.
The thing about small towns is this. What makes them special is not the place, it's the people.
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