Students build a home and rebuild lives - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Students build a home and rebuild lives

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB) - Reginald Jordan's carpentry students at Howard High School are pouring their hearts and souls into building a special home for a special family, putting their skills to the test to help others.

"It's a two bedroom, one bath home for a grandmother and her granddaughter," explains Jordan. "The grandmother lost her husband to cancer. She lost her own personal home to a fire."

The grandmother, Verna Crumsey, also lost her daughter and two of her four grandchildren in a fire back in 2004 at Poss Homes in Chattanooga. Crumsey is still raising one of the surviving grandchildren, middle-school aged Mariah, in a small apartment.

"It's about community. It's about giving back," says Jordan.

Jordan heard about Crumsey at church and he and his wife didn't hesitate to get involved. They have been saving to build their own home, but are selflessly using the money for this one instead.

"We saw a need and we said, look, we've been saving, but we'll eventually get the money back," says Jordan. "We felt like how much better would it be to help someone who had really had a hard time."

Nail by nail, board by board, the 25 students aren't just building a home. They're rebuilding lives. Jordan says they couldn't wait to get started.

"Hoping they like the house and making sure everything fits for them and it's perfect for them," says Howard High junior Courtney Woods.

"It feels good. It feels good in my heart. It feels right," adds Johnny Pendergrass, also a junior.

When Jordan told Crumsey she'd be getting a brand new place to call her own, she couldn't hold back her emotions.

"When you've gone on so long living with all that pain, then someone says we're going to give you a home debt-free, it was tears of joy," says Jordan.

Jordan owns a construction company and has recruited help from other professionals. He says they have most of the materials needed, but appreciate any monetary donations to insure they can finish the job. Jordan's phone number is 423-320-4251, or call Howard High School. They hope to complete the house in late July.
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