The Union Recorder

July 14, 2013

Nearly 200 volunteers support River of Life efforts

Shawn Humphrey
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — River of Life 2013 is underway and is shaping up for another successful year for the organization.

The nearly 200 volunteers and site leaders have been working hard since early Thursday improving homes in Milledgeville and surrounding counties.

The crews worked on projects such as building wheelchair ramps at homes, doing yard work and even repairing the structure of damaged homes.

The improvements being made are helping the lives of these homeowners by not only fixing their houses, but also showing that the community cares.

One project that the organization was excited about this year was the repair and renovation of an abandoned Habitat for Humanity house in Milledgeville.

The crew for the local site, led by Devon Smyth, had its work cut out for it.

The house needed serious interior renovation, including a full paint job and a repair of the floor and structure of the inside of the house.

It seemed almost as if they were building the house from scratch.

Though there was much work to be done, not a single person on the site could be seen without a smile.

The entire crew was all smiles and happy to be a part of this effort to give back to the community and help those in need.

Another crew visited a home on Sinclair Marina Road to build a wheelchair ramp for a family.

The crew worked diligently to make sure that the family had the best service they could get, and they seemed to be having a lot of fun doing it.

Even the younger volunteers were extremely enthusiastic and proud to be helping with these projects.

One man who has been working with River of Life for nearly half of his life is a prime example.

“This is why I come back,” said Russ Hoke, a 10-year veteran with River of Life. “This is home.”

Hoke, 22, has participated in River of Life as a youth, and now a leader, and has enjoyed every minute of his time spent helping the families involved and connecting with his fellow volunteers.

As of Friday at noon, around half of the 37 original work sites have been completed, including 22 wheelchair ramps, which is allowing River of Life to add more sites and projects to work on.

“Our main focus is to help the people who really need it the most,” said Courtney Hitchcock, a coordinator for River of Life.

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