Floyd County police took the lead Saturday, along with help from 911 personnel and close to 30 county employees, many with family members, and spent virtually the entire day cleaning out and fixing up the home of a disability-retired county employee.
Sgt. Chris Fincher said several years ago police were dispatched to the home in Garden Lakes to answer a call and saw the home was in bad condition back then. Carl Lively, now a major in the department, was the officer on the scene at the time, and he told the man that if he needed help with the house to just give police a call. Recently, the man came into the police station with his arms outstretched and made that plea for help.
Saturday, the public safety employees turned out en masse, filling debris container after debris container with stuff that had collected inside the home for who knows how many years.
The home had gotten to where it needed to be virtually emptied out because of health problems, and family members had loaded stuff on him.
“In 2011, I had double-bypass surgery and I’ve got a pacemaker now,” he said. He’s also been hospitalized recently for pneumonia and his wife is still in a health care facility recovering from serious orthopedic problems. “It’s just everything — and old age!” he exclaimed.
Assistant County Police Chief Tom Ewing and Capt. Greg Dobbins were masked and disinfecting the walls of the living room after it was cleaned out, getting it ready for a new coat of paint. “He’s an ex-county employee, a former corrections officer, and we’re trying to take care of our own,” Ewing said. “We’re trying to help the community, help him when he gets his wife home. It’s just the right thing to do.”
Sgt. Rusty Williams and others hauled trash can after trash can loaded with stuff out, filling up the containers which were hauled away.
Officer Dustin Wade has been on light duty recently, but came out to help in any way he could. That ended up being the chief chef, cooking hot dogs and burgers on the grill.
“We’re servants in our community to begin with, and we can help out in more than one way,” Wade said. “Not only do we come when we’re on duty to help out but we look for more ways to serve our community when we’re at work. These people needed some help and we all needed was to step up and help. A lot of effort has gone into this.”
Special T-shirts were made for the occasion and sold, not given, to the officers, to help pay for the cost of the cleanup. “As we go, we are finding things we need so we’ll send a runner to the store. That’s what the T-shirt money is for,” Fincher said.
Fincher said police got close to $3,000 worth of cash and in-kind donations from the community. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Action Outdoor Power, Rome Equipment Rental, Rents for Events, GMC grocery, Coca Cola, Elder’s Ace Hardware, Johnny on the Spot, Heritage Sleep Concepts, Badcock Furniture and Mulkey Inc. all made contributions to the cleanup, along with several anonymous donors. Mulkey paid the tipping fees at the landfill and Floyd County Public Works crews are expected to help out with some work in the yard of the home after the weather breaks.