Operation Colletta

This is Colletta with Mimbee Baker, grandsons George and Scooter. The dark cross is burned wood from the old home. It actually came to rest on the ground as you see it here. The Salkehatchie youth lashed it together so it could be stood up as a reminder of the tragedy; but, more importantly, as a reminder of who is in control. The smaller cross is the one that the Salkehatchie team had placed in the yard to signify the motivation behind their helping Ms. Colletta back in July. Of course, it has now come to signify the hope we have in Jesus to make all things new again. The foundation of the new home is in the background.


January 26

We Have Broken Ground!

This new year will have special meaning to Colletta as we all work as the Body of Christ to rebuild her home. Those of you who were able to attend the Operation Tristan home dedication in November may remember Colletta being there with her advocates, Peggy Parker and Sally Hiers.

Over the holidays Peggy and Sally were busy gathering quotes for the foundation. That decision was made and we broke ground last week. This Saturday the 31st we will be pre-framing the walls with the help of the local churches and members of Salkehatchie Summer Service. A framing team is scheduled for Feb. 18 – 20. As always, we will need lots of help finishing it from there. Our goal is to dedicate the home to the glory of God by June 1st.With His and your help we can do it!

January 31

Pre-Framing of Walls

It was a magical day thanks to the considerable organizational skills of Peggy Parker and Sally Hiers! It started out with a fantastic breakfast provided by the United Methodist Men at Hampton UMC and ended with the volunteers circling the foundation holding hands while Mimbee Baker, Salkehatchie Coordinator, asked the Lord to bless Colletta and the building of her new home. All Colletta could say was “Praise God and thank you, Jesus.” All together there were approximately 50 volunteers from several churches in the local area that participated in building the walls and providing food for the day. An awesome lunch was provided by Colletta and her family as a way to show their gratitude for all the help. Thanks to Mimbee for inviting Steve Hudson, Harden Construction, Sumter, SC to come help. Steve used his extensive Salkehatchie experience as the “Pit Boss” for the day. He did a tremendous job of coordinating the production of the walls complete with numerous changes. It will be fun seeing them all fit together later this month on the 18th as we raise the home and get it dried in. God is in the house!



February 18 - 20

The Phoenix Rises!

Just like the mythical bird we are seeing Ms. Colletta’s home rise from the ashes. This one is more miracle than mythical though. It was a real blessing seeing the Lord weave the individuals from Greenville, Greer, Westminster, Anderson, Columbia and the local Hampton area into a team capable of raising the structure from foundation to a dried in and secure home in just over two days. Just as the Lord had provided Steve Hudson to lead the wall framing He provided Parker Carlisle with KC Concepts (great name, huh) in Greenville to lead our home framing efforts. Parker proceeded to make himself somewhat of a legend there in Hampton. Bringing in the boom truck to set all the trusses in place in about 45 minutes didn’t hurt! Ms. Colletta is so excited to get the keys to her new front door. “Thank you, Jesus” was her very appropriate response.

We would also like to thank Mr. Randy Murdaugh for allowing us to stay in his beautiful “hunt cabin”.

To cap it off (literally) Mimbee Baker brought her Salkehatchie team in on Saturday to shingle the roof while a local team took care of the electrical rough in. Wow, what a start!


March 4 - 7

Siding, Front Porch, Back Deck, Insulation

Marvin Horton brought in his team of pros from Cornerstone UMC on Wednesday to do the siding, front porch and back deck in only three days! Of course, we are just looking at the outside. Inside, we passed the rough-in inspection for the electrical, plumbing and HVAC on Friday. That allowed Paul Turner and his team to come in from Campobello UMC on Saturday to install the insulation. It is so amazing to see how God is in these projects, using the Body of Christ to work His miracles.

March 9 - 11

Hanging Sheetrock

This team from Western North Carolina, Etowah UMC and Mills River UMC, rocks, literally! This strong team of seasoned veterans didn’t let the 80 sheets of 4 x 12 and 30 sheets of 4 x 8 get the best of them. In fact, all the rock was on the ceilings and walls in two and a half days! I don’t think a team of limber-backs could have done any better. Although most team members are probably glad the home is 1180 square feet and not 1200! We even had to suffer through 90 degree heat in March. On Monday evening we were treated to low country boil by the men at Hampton UMC. Judy and Debbie did a great job of keeping our strength up with wonderful food the remainder of the week. We would like to offer a special thank you to Peggy and Johnny Parker for providing us fantastic accommodations. In a lot of ways this was a luxury mission trip in spite of the hard work. The walls and ceiling are now ready for Mr. James Evans to work his magic with mud and tape.

March 23 - 24

Painting Sheetrock

Following the excellent finishing job by Mr. James Evans the previous week, Mr. John Wood and his hard working team of 13 Saints from Virginia Wingard UMC in Columbia came down and made short work out of priming and painting the interior of the home. Rev. John Culp, Senior Pastor of Virginia Wingard and founder of Salkehatchie Youth Missions, stopped by to rally the troops. A smaller team came back on Tuesday to put the finishing touches on including painting the foundation to match the siding. Way to go team. Thanks to their help we are on schedule to have the Home Dedication on Friday April 3rd.

April 1 - 4

Finishing Strong

Our goal was to have Ms. Colletta celebrate Easter in her newly resurrected home. I am happy to say that through the hard work of His angels from Zion UMC, Anderson, SC; Etowah UMC, Hendersonville, NC; Buncombe Street UMC, Greenville, SC and several other churches we were able to put down the floors, install kitchen cabinets and vanities, trim windows, hang interior doors, install base molding, install appliances, hang lights and fans, finish electrical, finish plumbing and touch up paint over a 32 hour period. We are not Extreme Home Makeover yet, but close! We would very much like to thank Sally Heirs and Peggy Parker whose logistical support throughout this project has been invaluable. Also, a big thank you to Mimbee Baker for helping with appliances and person power through her Salkehatchie network.

The team from Zion and Etowah UMC went back over to handle a few punch list items on Saturday. This paved the way for the final inspection on Monday and receiving the Certificate of Occupancy on Wednesday. Ms. Colletta was free to move in over the Easter weekend. This is another example of God using His servants to accomplish His miracles.

April 3

Home Dedication

Thanks to be to God we were able to dedicate the home to His glory as scheduled on Friday April 3rd at 6:00 PM. Approximately 85 of Ms. Colletta’s closest friends filled her front yard for the ceremony led by Rev. Jack Bailey of Hampton UMC with the Benediction given by Rev. Johnny Smalls of the Greater Cherry Grove Christian Church. In addition, several of Colletta’s friends and volunteers shared what the experience has meant to them.  We then had a wonderful meal at Hampton UMC Thanks to Peggy Parker and friends. This was truly a blessed event with Ms. Colletta praising the Lord all the way.



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