Roger and Cheryl Bennett of Juliette discovered a family’s worst nightmare last month. Their home for the past 36 years at 5328 Juliette Road had quietly been eaten up by termites. Worse, they learned that because they didn’t have a termite rider on their homeowner’s insurance, their policy does not cover any of the paid-off home where they had planned to spend their golden years. The entire home had to be demolished. What would they do? Where would they live?
“I’m 65 and got to start over?” wondered Roger Bennett. “This is unbelievable.” Their pastor, the Rev. Matt Bishop, told their friends at Maynard Baptist Church about the situation the next Sunday. That’s when the Bennetts found out they were not alone. Church friends helped them pack their belongings and donated a big container for them so they could get out for the demolition. Other friends donated building materials to construct a new home on their property. Bryan Steele of All Seasons Tree Service offered to demolish the home for them. R & B Metals of Jackson donated everything needed for a metal roof for the home. And over the weekend, their church family and Juliette friends, and even strangers from as far away as South Carolina, came together as church members built a new home for the Bennetts.
Roger Bennett, a self-employed mechanic, and Cheryl Bennett, who works in Bobby Melton’s law office, said they are floored by the support.
“It is overwhelming,” said Cheryl Bennett. “We have been so blessed by the Lord, the community and the church. We don’t know what we would’ve done without their help.”
Cheryl Bennett said they have seen God’s hand in every step the last month as they bought wood and supplies for a new home.
“It seems like every time we needed the wood, a special order would come in at a better deal,” said Cheryl. “The Lord has worked every aspect out for us.”
Roger Bennett said he had back and knee surgery and so he wasn’t checking on things at the house as much as usual. One day he was repairing part of his floor when he found termites had eaten the bottom of their 90-year-old home. Then he noticed the walls, too, were eaten up.
As they demolished the home, Roger Bennett drew up his own plans for a simple, new home. Friend Les White of Juliette started lining up materials and workers. And over the weekend it all came together in an old-fashioned home framing. Red Stone and Tommy Moon of Juliette even did a fish fry for the workers. Bishop said it’s what church members are supposed to do, like in the Book of Acts when it says the church shared everything in common.
Sid Newsome of Juliette said it makes him proud to live in Juliette, where neighbors still help one another.
There’s still much work to do on the home. Cheryl Bennett said one friend predicted they could move in by July 4. But Bennetts, who are living in a camper on their property until it’s done, said they expect it will be closer to Labor Day. The Bennetts said they can’t thank their church and community enough for all the help.