Monday, September 28, 2009

Build Brigade Makes Strides

Photo: Members of the Build Brigade were hard at work on Thursday, not pausing even for a photo opportunity. Photo by Rae Wagoner/The Herald Ledger

By Rae Wagoner

When Homes for Our Troops project manager Rick Goyette told members of American Legion Post 68 and volunteer contractors and laborers “we’ll have this house under roof and weatherized by nightfall Saturday,” some thought he was being a little optimistic. After all, he made that statement on Wednesday night. But with this being the 40th home the organization has coordinated for wounded veterans, Goyette and his team have had some practice. With what they call a “Build Brigade,” good weather and a whole lot of hard work by skilled carpenters, that’s exactly what happened.

Goyette took a few minutes away from swinging his hammer on the home HFOT is building for local wounded veteran Chase Matthews last Thursday to bring dignitaries and the media up to date. Invited guests Bill Simmons and Debby Epperson of the US Department for Veterans Affairs regional office in Louisville may have been the most popular attendees – they brought a $60,000 check to help with expenses for this wheelchair-accessible home.

Homes For Our Troops was founded in 2004, Goyette said, when Massachusetts contractor John Gonsalves heard of a disabled soldier coming home and thought “I wonder what his hometown is doing for this guy.” The answer, sadly, was “nothing.”

“What could be more fundamental about a homecoming,” Goyette said, “than having a home you can come home to?” In Matthews’ case, the mobile home shares with his growing family is far from able to accommodate his needs. His wife Jennifer said that because of the narrow doorways and halls, Matthews is confined to the kitchen and living room while in his wheelchair. Extensive use of his prosthetic legs causes him pain and tires him quickly, she added.

“This is all really overwhelming,” Jennifer said. “Chase is a quiet guy and he’s not used to all this attention, and neither of us can quite get over everything the community is doing for us.” When asked what the greatest part of the new home will be, Jennifer had a ready answer. “Chase will be able to go anywhere he wants to in his own home without having to ask for help.”

Along about October, that will include visiting the nursery the Matthewses will prepare to welcome their newest addition, or stopping in to say goodnight to stepdaughter Sarah in her room.

“They think the house will be ready in time for us to bring the baby here when we come home from the hospital,” Jennifer said, “and that is just amazing to me. It’s amazing that people would do this for Chase, for our family, and I’ve seen houses being built before but nothing like this fast.” She noted that at 8 a.m. on Thursday the foundation and subfloors were finished, “and it was a big flat floor, like an empty stage,” and by the time the ceremony got underway shortly after 2 p.m. that day, crews had walls up and were setting trusses as fast as they could go.

General contractor Keith Young was notably impressed with the quality of volunteer help he had. “These guys really know what they’re doing,” he said in a rare break from the action. Young said he is honored to serve as general contractor on the project. “I have known Chase since he was a kid and I am glad to be able to help out with this.”

Among the dignitaries present was Senator Ken Winters, who served 2 tours of active duty in the Army and serves on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. He expressed his gratitude for Matthews’ service and wished him well. Michael Pape stood in for Congressman Ed Whitfield and presented Matthews, Legion Post 68, and the Homes for Our Troops Organization with American flags that have flown over our nation’s capitol. Kuttawa Mayor Butch McCollum was also present and extended his hope that “many happy memories will be made in this home.”

Two key people were noticeably absent from the podium. Rick Gill, Post 68 Vice Commander, has worked tirelessly organizing fundraisers and working as a liaison with the HFOT organization. His granddaughter sustained multiple injuries in an auto accident in Texas on Wednesday. He and his wife, post adjutant Pat Gill, immediately flew to her side and left matters in the capable hands of Commander Bill Howard. Howard emceed the ceremony, profusely thanking those who have contributed to the project with materials, labor, donations, and, in the case of Neda and Lonnie Bauer, donuts to feed the masses of men who volunteered their time and talents.

Howard reminded those present that Post 68 has undertaken the challenge of raising a minimum of $10,000 with which to furnish the new home. The next fundraiser will be held on Saturday. Making use of the Legion’s charitable gaming license, a Mega-Bingo event will be held beginning at 1 p.m. in the outlet mall. The former Polo building is set to be the site of a bingo event with enough seating for 300 people, and Howard said all the proceeds (after generous payouts) will go the the furniture fund. In addition, the post is planning a 4-hour live radio auction in partnership with Princeton’s WAVE-J radio 104.9 for October. Any individual or business with items to donate should contact any member of American Legion Post 68.

Present but not taking the microphone was one woman without whom this home might only be a wish. Marty Kares, who is employed by The Crittenden Press but is functioning in her capacity as a board member of the Three Rivers Homebuilders Association, has not only been a staunch supporter of this project, but has functioned as “coordinator-in-chief” on the local front. Kares comes from a long line of servicemen, and has said on numerous occasions “this is a cause that’s close to my heart.” She declined to take the stage, preferring instead to work behind the scenes.

Behind the scenes or in front of a microphone, there is still much to do for this home to become a reality. For more information on Homes For Our Troops and the Matthews home in particular, visit

Reprinted with permission from the Lyon County Herald Ledger

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dycusburg News: Sept. 17, 2009

(Editor's Note: Michelle Henderson began writing "Dycusburg News" beginning with the Sept. 17, 2009 issue of The Crittenden Press. It will be reprinted with permission on this site. Be sure to share your news by e-mailing

By Michelle Henderson

Congratulations to Bobby and Linda Mayes on the birth of their daughter, Evelynn Grace (Eve). She was born Sept., 9, 2009. She weighed seven pounds, 13 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. She is the granddaughter of Curtis and Jeannie Griffin.

Congratulations to Jake and Jodie Selph on the birth of their daughter, Annie Marie. She was born July 1.

Recent birthdays include: Keith Ethridge Aug. 14, Mckenzie Noffsinger Aug. 21, Rick Bowman and Mason Stinnett Aug. 26, Chase Matthews and Johnnie Lindsey Sept. 1.

Recent anniversaries include Curtis and Jeannie Griffin July 4, Bobby and Linda Mayes Sept. 2.

Rick Fondaw is home and feeling better after a short stay in the hospital.

The Dycusburg Community Group had an impromptu roadside trash pick up on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Members gathered several bags of trash alongside Dycus Road, Hilltop Drive, parts of Owens Road and parts of Ky. 295.

If interested in volunteering your time, please call or email or 270-988-2758. The group plans to pick up trash on other streets in the coming weeks.

The group would like to thank those who have made donations recently. There are a lot of projects in the planning stage. A meeting will be held soon in which details will be given. Watch this column for date, time and location. All interested are welcome to attend.

Carol and Nathan Carroll and their children, Christian, Shawn and Kaleb of Louisville, along with Cierra Simpson and Kylie McGowen of Paducah visited with Curtis and Jeannie Griffin and Bobby and Linda Mayes the last week of August.

Homecoming at the Dycusburg Baptist Church will be held Sept. 20.

Quote of the week: “Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks.” – Phillips Brooks

Send your questions, news, birthdays, births, anniversaries, riddle answers and your own riddles and thoughts of the week to

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Obituary: Virginia Jewell, 75

DYCUSBURG, KY - Mrs. Virginia Jewell (Ginalee), 75, of Dycusburg, passed away at 10:55 p.m., Tuesday, September 15, in Lourdes Hospital in Paducah.

Mrs. Jewell was retired from the former Shawnee Plastics Company in Kuttawa and was a homemaker. She was a member of Dycusburg United Methodist Church in Dycusburg and a member of Princeton Eastern Star Chapter #315.

Survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, Billy and Jewell Jewell of Caldwell County and Ed and Donna Jewell of Crittenden County; 5 grandchildren, 3 great-grandchildren, 2 step great-grandchildren; one brother, Gordon Travis of Paris, TN; two sisters, Lucille Bingham of Hobert, IN and Shirley McAllister of Princeton, Ky.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 49 years, Clarence "Junior" Jewell; two sons, Ricky Darel Jewell and Donald Wayne Jewell; one sister, Barbara Epperson; one brother, Virgil Travis and her parents, Elvin Travis and Gertie Henry Travis.

Services will be 2:00 P.M. Friday, September 18, 2009 at Lakeland Funeral Home Chapel in Eddyville with Rev. Jessie Johnson and Rev. Mitch Coomer officiating.

Burial will be in Dycusburg Cemetery in Dycusburg, KY.

Visitation will be 5:00-8:00 P.M. Thursday, September 17, at Lakeland Funeral Home in Eddyville.

Memorials may be made to: Dycusburg United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 34, Dycusburg, KY 42037.