By BRIAN SMITH
Those two simple words touched Jenny and Austin Grigsby on a recent Sunday afternoon, where, thanks to the giving people of New River Fellowship, the pair has a new home on the same site as their former residence.
About 40 church members, staff and volunteers stood in the driveway of the new residence while Jenny was driven up blindfolded. After being congratulated by well-wishers, she walked into her new home and was greeted with a number of surprises, including a fully stocked pantry, cleaning supplies, full cabinets and more, all coming via donations. Out on the patio were a new grill, patio furniture and a sodded yard to make the home brand new and ready to live in.
The pair were living in a home on Ball Street in Weatherford just one year ago that was dilapidated to the point of having holes in the walls.
Work on the new home began in March, according to Michael John (MJ) Clement, worship pastor at New River Fellowship. Clement was the one that got the ball rolling on the project, having overheard a conversation between the mother and son last November.
“Jenny said that they needed to get home after practice so they could turn the heat on so the room wouldn’t be cold,” Clement, who was Austin’s youth football coach, said. “Hearing that, I got with another pastor at the church to see if we could do some remodeling of the home.”
Pastors and workers found the home they were living in was beyond repair and any of the repairs would have simply been a “bandaid” to the real, deeper problem., Clement said. Seeing the family’s predicament, Clement and other church officials began calling in anyone and everyone to begin the process of getting the home rebuilt from the ground up, according to Senior Pastor Scott Crenshaw.
“We called together builders, glass people, interior designers from our church to get this going,” Crenshaw said. “We took our idea of rebuilding this home to our pastor team and got the ball rolling.”
Clement said with no money to build a $150,000 home from the ground up, a lot of things had to come together and a lot of donations had to happen to make it work. While the home was being constructed, the church put the Grigsbys in an apartment and paid the rent while the pair got back on their feet. Clement said the church also be covering the bills for the first three years, so the Grigsbys can continue to get their lives back together.
Jenny Grigsby, a night forklift driver at CD Hartnett, was blown away by what had been done.
“I’ve been packing like crazy to be able to move in,” Jenny said while looking around her new home. “All we had was a bed frame and a coffee table from our old place. It doesn’t feel real yet. I’m sure it’ll sink in.”
Jenny said she had a chance to pick out home colors for the home but really was unsure of the magnitude of what was being done. She hadn’t been inside the home for about two weeks before the unveiling.
Clement said nearly 100 volunteers had been at the house over the last few weeks making sure everything was perfect for the unveiling, thanks to the work of Doug and Carrie Boyd coordinating the large group.
While wellwishers mingled around the home, Austin Grigsby was out in the driveway riding his scooter. He said he was in love with his new place.