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Resurrecting Hope Through Human Investment
Building and ‘Resurrecting Hope’

By Sharon Swanepoel
The Loganville Tribune

Published May 8, 2009

WALNUT GROVE — After many years of working with the homeless in the Atlanta area, owner of Ameripro Plumbing, David Crewey, his wife Colleen and co-founder Gardner Biddle decided to launch a new venture to help those who might not yet be homeless, but who could do with a little help nevertheless.

They established a new organization, Resurrecting Hope, Inc., partnering with The Church at the Grove for the first project.

About a month ago, Crewey set out with Russ Butcher, pastor of The Church at the Grove, with hopes of finding a deserving beneficiary for what they had decided would be a complete home makeover — something along the lines of ABC’s “Extreme Makeover.”

“But it isn’t quite as easy as you would expect,” Crewey said. “We drove around Walnut Grove for hours and spoke to many people, but couldn’t find the right project. Finally I said, ‘OK God, we need a little help here.’”

Crewey said it was about then they turned down a side street, and there, almost at the end of the road, was just what they were looking for — a little white house in total disrepair.

“You should have seen it,” Crewey said. “The roof was sagging, windows and gutters were broken and there were holes in the walls and the floor. They had to put planks down when they walked so they wouldn’t fall through.”

The two men got out the car and walked up to the house, assessing just how much work would be involved in a makeover.

But what Crewey and Butcher didn’t know at the time, was the little house had a much bigger story to tell. Inside, just a couple of days before, Bill Sargent, 72, and his wife, Elaine, 64, had reached the end of their tether — not knowing how they were going to go on.

The elderly couple had adopted and were raising their three grandchildren, ages 15, 14 and 7 since the boys’ parents were serving time in prison for drug-related crimes. But illnesses, which included diabetes, two strokes, a coma and the loss of a kidney due to cancer in Bill, congestive heart failure and COPD in Elaine and a heart defect and hearing loss as a result of Spinal Meningitis in one of the boys, had wiped out just about every dime the family had. With the only income being the grandparents’ Social Security checks, there was hardly enough money to live on, let alone pay the necessary medical bills. So fixing a 30-year home that was not only falling down around them, but had also become unhealthy and unsafe, was something they couldn’t even consider.

“We knew we needed to do something to fix this home, but we just didn’t have the money,” Elaine said. “I said to my husband, ‘I just don’t know what we’re going to do anymore.’”

It was only a couple of days later, Elaine said, that she saw “these two men walking around outside, looking at the house.”

“When I went outside they said they wanted to fix the house, but we didn’t have any money, so I knew we couldn’t do anything,” she said.

When Elaine told her husband, and he went outside, the two men again explained what they wanted to do. The response they got from Bill was much the same.

“He actually told us the house didn’t need any work,” Crewey said. “That it was just fine as it was.”

But the two men persisted, eventually convincing the Sargent family it wasn’t some elaborate scheme or con game — they simply wanted to make the family’s life better, “because of God’s love.”

And so began the inaugural project of “Resurrecting Hope,” a project that reached completion Sunday when, to chants of “move that plumbing truck,” the Sargent family officially took possession of their newly renovated home — something that not only completely changed their living environment, but also renewed their trust in humanity and re-affirmed their faith in God.

Neither the Sargent family nor any members of Resurrecting Hope believe it was simply chance that took the pastor and Crewey down that side street that day a little more than a month ago.

“It was God,” an emotional Elaine said, choking back the tears. “It was God that did it — He sent these people.”

Crewey said the renovations, completed over four weekends with the help of many volunteers, came in at about $10,000, but estimate at closer to $60,000 if man-hours are included.

The final bill is still out and the organization has to raise more money to cover the cost of this project before moving onto the next — but nobody seemed to find that a problem.

“We also got together and got up the money to purchase a new trampoline for the boys,” Crewey said.

At the dedication ceremony, which Bill was unable to attend due to illness, an emotional Crewey explained just what the project meant to him.

“Today is a defining moment,” Crewey said. “This is who I want to be.”

For more information or to donate to Resurrecting Hope visit --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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