MONETTE, AR (KAIT) - A Region 8 Mission group spent a whole day renovating a local veteran's home.
More than 30 volunteers with the God at Work mission group helped Vietnam veteran and local handyman Michael Smith.
Smith served two tours in the Vietnam War, and when he returned to Tennessee, he met his wife, who was originally from Monette.
Smith and his wife eventually settled in Monette where Smith worked as a handyman.
After more than 40 years serving the community, the community gave back to Smith.
"They were very gracious and very kind, and they were like friends I didn't have before," Smith said.
Due to some serious health problems, Smith had to stop working.
"I have just about every tool I need to do whatever I want, and I hope to get back into it," Smith said.
Smith was shocked with the generosity from those with God at Work when his home needed work.
"They just started in, and seven hours later they were headed home, and they have all these wonderful things done to my house," Smith said.
Smith did tell Region 8 News it was different being on the other side of things and not doing the work himself.
"I had done all the work that they were going to do to my house, but I was no longer in charge," Smith said.
The mission group, spearheaded by Kenneth Winford of New Hope Baptist Church in Black Oak, has done over 15 local missions.
The volunteers pulled back Smith's living room carpet and redid the foundation that was falling in.
They also renovated Smith's bathroom with a new toilet and tile.
Finally, the volunteers added wood to one side of the home and painted the outside.
Smith said he is glad his journey through life lead him to such a wonderful community.
Smith grew up in Florida where he attended college.
After college, Smith followed in his grandfather's footsteps and became a marine.
"The next thing I know I was at Paris Island at boot camp and then from there I went overseas for a while," Smith said.
"I kind of had, I don't want to say a hard attitude but an impartial attitude when I came here," Smith said about Monette.
However, after meeting wonderful people like Gale Cullum, Smith said his attitude changed.
"He told me, go ahead and do the job and charge them very little if anything or don't charge them at all, you will be rewarded because of that," Smith said.
Smith told Region 8 News he saw that reward the day the volunteers showed up at his house.
"Thank you so much, they just all jumped in here, and I am not used to all this attention or anything like that, but I am grateful they did come and help me out, and I can't thank them enough," Smith said.
Although Smith's wife of 32 years has passed away, he is glad to still be in such giving community.
"They are just wonderful people, just wonderful," Smith said.
The mission group will come back in the next week or so to also repair Smith's roof, which he said has been leaking recently.
"I have buckets in the back bedroom catching drips of water," Smith said.
Winford said the mission group will continue to do more local missions just like this one.
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