WACO—Texas Baptist Men volunteers have a longstanding reputation for building churches, encampments and missions facilities—not for demolition.
However, after a fertilizer plant explosion in West last year, TBM responded to a request from First Baptist Church in West for volunteers who could operate heavy machinery to tear down more than 50 damaged homes, saving homeowners demolition and debris-removal costs not covered by insurance.
In mid-October, a fire destroyed the home of a couple in Waco—Donna Dill, a paraplegic with muscular dystrophy, and her husband, Brian, who is a quadriplegic. Like many residents of nearby West, the Dills had insurance to rebuild their home but not to cover demolition costs.
One of Donna Dill’s coworkers at a local bank knew about TBM’s involvement at West, and she contacted the missions organization to ask for help.
First Baptist Church in Waxahachie told the Dills TBM could provide free labor if they could pay $4,000 for dumpster rental and city permits, which they readily agreed to do.After assessing the situation, Jim Lawton from
With other scheduled projects—plus unexpected involvement in cleanup after an ice storm hit North Texas—the TBM crew had a window of less than one week in mid-December to demolish the Dills’ home and remove the debris.
“There was a 100 percent chance of rain in the forecast for one of those days, but we were able to work all day long with just a light drizzle most of the time,” Lawton said. “God has a way of providing when we quit worrying and get out of his way.
“God puts the right people in the right place at the right time when we make ourselves available for his use.”
Volunteers operated a backhoe, a skid-steer and a jackhammer to demolish the burned-out house. Meadowbrook Baptist Church in Robinson provided housing for the TBM crew, and the bank where Donna Dill works supplied their meals.
Since the Dills did not have to pay for demolition, they will be able to rebuild a home better equipped for their limited mobility, Lawton noted.
“It gave them the ability to go from a used home that had ramps built to try to make it more accessible to one built specifically for handicapped accessibility,” he said.