Unsung Hero: Man helps restore homeless shelter - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Unsung Hero: Man helps restore homeless shelter

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MARION -- Last April, a Marion homeless shelter had to close its door for more than two months due to flooding.The people they were helping were scattered, forced to find another place to stay. Administrators say they're grateful for all the help and community support getting the doors back open, but are especially thanking one volunteer, in this weeks Unsung Hero.

New flooring and new paint was only a small portion of the work needed to get the Lighthouse Shelter back to normal. Photos were taken to show how high flood waters got on April 29, 2017.

"It just didn't have any place to go and it came in the building," said Executive Director Michelle Parker-Clark.   

Early that Saturday morning, Parker-Clark walked in to three to four inches of water.

"The water was flooding down. There's a bit of an incline there that goes down into our dining area and it was a little bit of a rushing river," said Michelle.   

Around 15-residents, including children, were forced to evacuate quickly. Once everyone was placed, the real work began.

"There was floors that needed to be replaced and just a lot of doors that needed to be cut off and fixed and just handyman stuff," said handyman Richard Tierney.

Michelle said, Richard was just the man for the job.

"He had skills in carpentry. He had skills in plumbing. He helped us lay flooring and just about anything that we needed, Richards was ready to pinch in and do it," explained Michelle.    

After one look around, Richard got straight to work, volunteering countless days, hours and months, trying to help restore the shelter.

 "The best part is that Richard came in with a smile on his face and never got discouraged because it was a challenging time for all of us," said Michelle.    

Richard said he's been blessed with a natural ability to work with his hands and he could never turn a blind eye to someone in need.

"Do what you can with what you have right now," Richard.   

Michelle said it was that attitude that helped the shelter open again so quickly.

"Here is was simple. I've never been hungry. Never been homeless. I've always had a warm bed to sleep in and I've always had food to eat and there's children running around here," added Richard.    

Since reopening, Richard has stayed on as a volunteer.

If you know of someone doing exceptional work in your community, we want to hear about it. Send your Unsung Hero nominations to us here at the station in Carterville. You email us at news@wsiltv.com.

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