Judy Usry's home was falling apart around her.
The roof was leaking and in desperate need of repair, but Usry just didn't have the money to fix it.
All she could do is pray for a miracle.
That miracle happened Friday in the form of a group of volunteers from four area churches climbing atop her Martinez home to replace the roof.
"It was just a miracle," said Usry. "You just don't realize what these guys have meant to me."
Jeff Carter, a member of Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church and an organizer of the project, said one of Usry's neighbors contacted him looking for help.
Carter said he went to meet Usry and inspect her roof. He found that the roof was in dire straits and Usry was not in the financial situation to do any more than patch leaks.
"They were getting water into the house," Carter said. "I just started calling asking for donations."
Members of Wesley and Trinity-on-the-Hill United Methodist churches also heard about Usry's situation and joined the effort along with The Quest, where Usry attends.
Usry said she lived in the home until her father got ill and her mother, who suffered from Alzheimer's, needed care. She moved into her parents' home and did not live in her Merrymont subdivision home for five years.
"I never knew how fast a house would deteriorate," Usry said, adding when she returned to the home in April 2008, following a severe illness and month-long hospitalization, the home was falling apart.
She had a gas leak in the concrete slab. After she had the carpet replaced, blockages in the tub drain line and the drain for the heating and air conditioning unit caused flooding, damaging the new floor.
Usry said she worked as a pipe-fitter and drafter at Savannah River Site for 23 years before going on disability in 2003 following a bout with thyroid cancer. She's on a fixed income of $1,400 a month after being twice denied Social Security benefits.
So when the roof started leaking, Usry said didn't know what to do. The financial situation was overwhelming, she said, leading to a lot of worry and frustration.
"It just sent me in a tailspin," she said, adding that in the year before she returned to her home, she lost her mother, sister and husband.
For Eric Long, a leader of Trinity-on-the-Hill's disaster relief team, which does roofing, taking on Usry's roof was never in doubt.
"Most people, when you mention mission work, think you are going to get on a plane and go overseas somewhere," he said, encouraging others to get involved in mission work.
Missions can be done "in your own backyard, for your next-door neighbor," he said.
CerainTeed Co. donated shingles for the home. Maner Building Supply stored and delivered the shingles and sold other materials to the group at a discount. Waste Management donated a roll-off dumpster and Firehouse Subs provided lunch Friday and Saturday.
The crew worked for two days, replacing most of the roof decking and the shingles.
Usry said she is devoted to returning the favor that was done for her. She plans to make monthly donations to each of the four churches responsible for her new roof.
"My Dad always taught me that if you do good for other people, it comes home to you," she said.
But Usry said the volunteers gave her much more than a new roof.
"A lot of hope," she said. "I have a totally different outlook.
"They've done so much for me, not just by fixing the roof. I know God really answers prayers. This is one. This is a miracle to me."
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