This Article was in the local newspaper for the Archbold, Ohio area. I thought it described what happened at my dad's house so much better than I was able to do, so I wanted to include it here. This was a column by Jack Palmer, and he titled it "In Three Days Walt's House Rose Again"
August 27, 2009
JACK PALMER firstname.lastname@example.org
God's miracles still happen, even here in rural northwest Ohio.
The latest example took place over the past three days on the former Walt Gisel family farm at the edge of Archbold.
Gisel, who died last year, was known as a humble man whose first loves were his family and his faith. After retiring from farming, the families of Cork and Jim Rufenacht farmed his land. In later years, Gisel moved into town and his house became a rental property.
The Rufenachts purchased the Gisel farm at the estate auction held this spring, but had little use for the home. Their initial thought was to demolish the structure to create more tillable acreage.
That's when the Lord took over.
Prior to moving ahead with demolition, the Rufenachts called Cecily Rohrs, known in the Archbold area as "the woman who makes things happen."
One of her many hats is founder and president of Shepherd's Circle, a grass-roots, all-volunteer organization established to help individuals and families make better decisions for day-to-day living.
"They called me and asked if I had an idea for the use of the home," Rohrs said Wednesday. "That was six weeks ago."
Of course, she had an idea. Cecily always has an idea. The inner workings of her brain processes ideas 24/7, ideas she usually turns into action.
Anyone who knows her is aware of her dynamism.
She wanted to turn the Gisel farm house into a home for men in need of a new setting and new relationships. They would be required to have daily contact with a "shepherd," but could garner a fresh start in life without the rest of the world judging them.
"The house needed care and attention, but it was livable," said Rohrs. "My initial thought was that as men moved in, they could each paint, scrub floors or fix windows according to their talents."
Last weekend, an overnight inspiration prompted her into a new plan of action. Rohrs, a member of St. Martin Lutheran Church, began calling friends at several other churches to ask for help in fixing up the house.
One of those calls went to Lilli Radabaugh, a member of St. Peter Catholic Church.
"Most people in town know that when Cecily calls, you listen," Radabaugh said. "When she makes a request, you know she has done her homework."
After meeting Rohrs at the Gisel house on Sunday, Radabaugh agreed to recruit volunteers from her parish to clean, paint and furnish the bathroom.
Over the next few hours, members from eight more churches plus her own promised Rohrs they would take one room each. Those involved were St. John Lutheran Church (at the corner of U.S. 6 and Ohio 66), St. John Christian Church, Archbold Evangelical Church, Central Mennonite Church, Lockport Mennonite Church, West Clinton Mennonite Church, Zion Mennonite Church, St. Peter Catholic Church, Archbold United Methodist and St. Martin Lutheran Church.
By Monday morning, they were all at work.
"When we left Monday night, we didn't want to go home," said Radabaugh. "It was just a great feeling to be involved in such a project."
The goal was to prepare the house for its first occupant by Wednesday night. Rohrs expects him to arrive as early as today.
"The floors were scrubbed, the walls were painted and new paneling was installed where needed," said Rohrs. "The people brought in silverware, bedding and toiletries. It was unbelievable."
Even more unbelievable was that everything was accomplished in only three days without a single committee meeting or pre-determined times to work. With nine different churches involved, that was a miracle itself.
"All that was needed was an empty house and a band of volunteers willing to drop everything to give hope to other people, people they didn't even know," said Rohrs.
The resurrected home has been aptly named "Walt's House."