Men from two different Wylie area churches and numerous Abilene businesses have pitched in to help a former Wylie school nurse get back on her feet after a neighbor scammed her out of nearly $10,000.
“Everybody that I have talked to – there hasn’t been a soul who hasn’t donated something to the cause,” said Clyde McMinn, a member of Wylie Baptist Church. “The community has really come together to help her out.”
Clyde and his wife, Melanie, who are both members of the Wylie Hall of Honor, heard about the plight of Mary Ellis on a local newscast.
“We were watching the news one night,” Clyde said. “We looked at each other and said, ‘We’ve got to help her.’ ”
In the story on KTXS, Ellis told how she had borrowed $10,000 to add two bathrooms to her small, older home in central Abilene. One bathroom was for her granddaughters to use when they stay with her on weekends, and the other was to remodel her outdated bathroom.
She signed a contract with a neighbor, who is a contractor, to do the work. He took the money bought a few materials, tore up the back of her house and then left and never came back.
Ellis has talked with law enforcement and the district attorney’s office, but the investigation is continuing.
Meanwhile, the McMinns gathered up some friends from Wylie Baptist Church and Beltway Park and decided to take action.
“We’ve been getting volunteers to help and different contributors have been helping,” Clyde said. “We basically started with nothing other than a tore up house.”
Ellis said the volunteers are an answer to her prayers.
She said she is so grateful for what the McMinns and other volunteers have done to help her.
Working weekends when possible, the volunteers have extended the roof and redone the foundation – what little work that was previously done had to be removed because it did not meet code. The volunteers put in more than 400 man-hours by early December and hoped to have the project complete by February. Many local businesses have donated supplies and man hours to help the effort.
Many of the men who are volunteering have experience in construction. They volunteer their time because they want to help others.
“We do it cause we love people,” said volunteer Wayne Whetsel.
Clyde agreed, saying they are using their talents to serve God.
“The Bible tells us that we should help others,” he said. “We feel that’s our calling. Our gift, we feel like, is to do this kind of work to help people out.”