Torrential rain did not drown out pounding hammers at the Fern Creek Fire Dept. as 200 volunteers framed interior walls for five homes Saturday morning, July 10.
It’s the sound of a lifelong dream coming true for five families—four with adult children with special needs, and a fifth moving into the community to be close to the others.
Fern Creek firefighters and volunteers from Crossroads Missions and Southeast Christian Church worked side by side throughout the morning.
Jill Johnson tried not to cry as she watched groups huddle over instructions to assemble walls. Some of those walls may soon stand in her home.
Johnson’s daughter Hannah watched the action with her closest friends: Sam Roach, Kassie Douglas and Kyle Massie. They, too, will move into one of these homes with their parents.
Eight years ago, Kevin Massey dreamed of a community where the families could live, support and encourage one another as they and their children age.
“Our biggest worry as Kyle ages is what would happen to him long term,” Massey said. “These kids have grown up together. They are close and go to events such as Shine and Camp Freedom. We’re also close as parents.”
Though Dave and Synthia Harris do not have a child with special needs, they will live in the community to provide respite and support. Synthia Harris is a support specialist who assists at Culver’s restaurant where three of the four young adults work.
“These kids brighten everyone’s day,” Harris said. “Some customers come in just to see them. That means a lot to the owner and general manager of our store. We learned about Down syndrome with our friends Kevin and Stacy Massey. Kevin’s dream became our dream.”
CrossRoads Missions provides volunteer labor to help make construction costs more affordable for homeowners. The homes will be completed on land in Fern Creek. CrossRoads Missions hopes this community will inspire other families.
“This project is not about financial need. This is about the Fern Creek community helping their neighbors,” said Rob Minton, executive director of CrossRoads Missions. “For the next 30 years, these five families will tell the story of how the church and Fern Creek community came together July 10 to work on their homes.”
Fern Creek Fire Chief Nathan Mulvey said one of his goals for the department is to be more involved in the community.
“In 2020, we began doing more community outreach events,” he said. “We thought working on these houses would be a great project. It’s within our fire district and is an opportunity for us to do something for people we protect on the fire side and live in the area. ”
Luis Angeles worked alongside his Man Challenge group from Southeast.
“It’s always a good day when you can help somebody else,” he said.
Jay Kustes nailed walls with four of his children.
“We foster kids with special needs,” he said. “This is a small thing to do for these families.”
Dave Harris said the day was “humbling.”
“This is an amazing opportunity to be close to the kids we love,” he said. “And it was amazing to see the church in action.”
As Kevin Massey watched volunteers work, he said God’s hand has been in it from the day his son Kyle was born.
“God knew what He was doing when he gave me a son with special needs,” he said. “I was angry. I had no clue. It’s an amazing journey with amazing people. He put the right people in place to make this day happen.”