JUSTIN — What started out as one man requesting a trailer to help out a neighbor became a 500-member community effort wanting to get involved and help restore a veteran’s home.
Blake Moore and Richard Cropper are veterans and neighbors. A conversation between the two when Cropper needed his car jump-started led to several days now of neighbors and other community members helping to clean up and restore his home.
Moore organized the project but has since added others to help him out with administrative duties like managing volunteers. The Facebook group called Justin Case, Justin Time has grown to about 500 members in a few days.
During his initial conversation with Cropper, Moore said Cropper mentioned that home upkeep had gotten too far away from him. The goal for Cropper’s home is to give him a fresh start, Moore said.
“[Cropper’s] got a good heart and got walked on,” Moore said. “We’ve realized there’s a much greater need in this community and that people are very willing to come out. People still have hearts and it’s hard to realize that when you get on social media.”
Cropper wasn’t home Saturday morning when people were raking the yard and tossing worn furniture into a pile to be thrown out. Moore said most volunteers don’t know his full story, but several volunteers said they wanted to help support a fellow veteran.
The effort to restore Cropper’s home grew into something larger than Moore expected. A few days after this all started, he’s getting in contact with people to start a nonprofit to help others with a focus on the elderly, disabled and those with property taxes too high for them to do home repairs.
With the effort to help Cropper getting bigger and bigger, local businesses and even chain restaurants have helped by providing food and volunteers.
Most of Cropper’s furniture and appliances will be replaced with newer models and several have been donated. Smaller things like tools have come in quickly, as well with people bringing lawn mowers, lifts, drywall and hardwood.
“Every time we ask [for something], everything comes through,” Lana Weides, a volunteer, said.
Although items are being donated and volunteers are offering their time, the money they have gotten to restore Cropper’s home is being spent quickly. Moore said they’re trying to raise more.
Bill Scarbrough, another neighbor who is also a veteran, drove back to his house and then came back with a net to try to catch a cat that was still in the house. Scarbrough said his heart goes out to veterans, and that he has the construction skills to offer in restoring Cropper’s home.
“Veterans are brothers in arms,” Scarbrough said. “When a brother is in need, you deploy and have an open heart. I hope we can get [Cropper] on his feet.”