Giving back

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Springfield KC members make a difference

By Jimmie Earls

A Martin County family will sleep better this winter knowing that there is heat and electricity in their house, thanks in part to members of the Springfield Knights of Columbus.

Jimmie and Rebecca Carrico, David and Patsy Smith and Springfield Grand Knight Billy Abell left Oct. 19 to take part in the Stewards of Appalachia service project benefiting the Father Beiting Appalachian Mission Center in Louisa, Ky. Members from KC councils from Taylorsville and Mt. Washington also participated in the project.

This year, Father Beiting's Christian Appalachian Project was helping out the Fannin family who live near the town of Inez.

Danny Joe Fannin, who lives there with his niece Autumn and the three small children she cares for, owns the house which was in such poor shape, there was no heat or electricity, and only a piece of plywood covering a window that had been broken.

“There’s no telling how long they lived in that condition,” Carrico said. “That house has been in the family for many years. They had something to cover that window last year, but just threw it out when spring would come. They had no heat whatsoever.”

Although the house was in bad shape, Carrico said the main structure of the house was solid and could be salvaged.

The Louisville KC council notified other Kentucky councils about the project and the Springfield council sent out a bulletin to its members asking for volunteers.

“That’s how we got involved,” added Carrico. “We got in touch with Grand Knight Billy Abell, and he was interested in going. Others were interested as well, but it was too short-notice for some of them.”

Next year’s project will involve the Father Beiting organization again, rehabbing donated mobile homes for needy families on land that Beiting owns.

“The people applying for these homes will be required to find employment and they have to go to counseling,” said Carrico. “They only stay there for a limited amount of time while they get on their feet. After that, they move on.”

Members of the Springfield council had a good feeling about helping out, especially after seeing the reaction of the family day after day.

"Autumn would take the children and leave during the day," said Rebecca Carrico. "She would come back and see the progress we made each day and just cry and thank us."

Martin County is one of the poorest counties in Kentucky. According to 2004 figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, 30.5 percent of the county’s residents are below the poverty level with a 1999 per capita income of $10,650. The average poverty rate for Kentucky is 16.3 percent with a per capita income of $18,063.

The Carricos had such a good time on the project that they look forward to helping out again next year.

“We're just sad that we have to wait a whole year to go back,” said Rebecca Carrico.

Anyone interested in helping out on future projects can contact any member of the Springfield Knights of Columbus.