Nehemiah Project Volunteers Give Home Makeovers in Augusta

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Hundreds of volunteers are coming together this week to rebuild homes and lives in Augusta County. 

Pastors, construction workers and many young adults are dedicating this week to doing extreme home makeovers. It's called the Nehemiah Project, which was named after a prophet who rebuilt Jerusalem in the scriptures. 

Church communities united and picked out 17 needy families in Augusta. Then they raised money for the work through grants and donations. Homeowners say this help is truly a godsend. 

David Kanagy works in construction, but this week is all pro bono. "To be able to help others is more. It is always said, it is more of a blessing than to receive," he said. 

The homeowner, Alice Aldhizer, says she can't put her gratitude into words. "It's a dream come true," she said. "You know, like one of those home makeovers on television." 

"We're ripping off the roof here and we're going to replace it with a new underlayment, new three-dimensional shingles, so there aren't any leaks," said Jeff Jennings, the site's manager. 

Aldhizer has lived in the home for decades. But as her health declined and her husband passed away, things in the home started falling apart. Until now, she hasn't been able to fit through many doors in her own home with her wheelchair. "I hadn't been in my bathroom now in almost 10 years," she said. 

Camper David Eiker said, "She's just been so appreciative, really sweet about everything we've done. Always thanking us nonstop." Eiker has been on mission trips around the world. "Definitely changing my life to see all the different people helping and working out on the week," he said. 

"There's a little bit different of a warm feeling that you get knowing you're helping somebody that's one of your neighbors that you might run into," Jennings said. 

Aldhizer said, "I just wish there was some way I could repay each person down here." But the volunteers say they're benefiting, too. "When you can help someone and they just beam and they just have this glow about them that you'll say, you know you're doing the right thing. It's meaningful. It really is," Kanagy said. 

Volunteers also said it was really meaningful to see so many different denominations and churches team up on the project. 

The work wraps up Friday.

Reported by Alana Austin

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