LDS church lends a hand to homeless veterans

Volunteers with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints work in the garden while beautifying Veteran’s Villas, a community for recovering addicts and homeless veterans.

Arriving with drills, paintbrushes, chainsaws and hammers in hand, members of the North Charleston congregation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints spent Saturday morning giving local veterans’ homes a face-lift.

More than 50 in number, youths, teens and adults showed appreciation to residents of Veterans Villas by trimming trees, repairing damaged fencing, installing a garden, replacing siding and giving a fresh coat of paint to each porch.

Donations of food and clothing also were delivered, with flip-flops being the most requested item.

“We owe our veterans for their sacrifice. When a vet is down, they deserve our help and attention,” said Mark Conway, a member of the local LDS church and a Navy veteran.

Saturday’s event was part of a 15-state effort called “Day of Service: Helping Hands, Linking Arms,” promoting community service among faith-based organizations, civic leaders and community organizations.

Veterans Villas is in North Charleston and houses homeless vets who are part of the Chesapeake Health Education Program, a transitional program for veterans recovering from substance abuse or in need of a home.

Joe Towles, resident case manager and former addict, showed his gratitude. “It’s an awesome day. We are a nonprofit organization and to see community support is greatly appreciated.”

Terrence Walker, a resident and Navy vet who served 1978-88, said he owes his life to the program.

“It has put my sanity in check. Alcohol and substance abuse are not tolerated,” said Walker.

In reaction to the improvements rendered on the property, he said, “It’s very humbling ... that someone is doing something for me.”

He called the service “a cosmetic makeover ... one that gives you more pride in where you live.”

For information on the “Day of Service,” visit www.dayofservice.org.

For more on Veterans Villas, call Melissa Kelly at 554-8861.