A community is aiming to turn a tragedy into a life-changing holiday gift for a family with eight children. Johnnie and Ronda Chennault's family lost their Springfield home on Hoods Branch Road last month to a fire still under investigation.
Now, close family friend Rick Baker is leading a community effort to build a new house on the same property and put the family in it before Christmas day.
The owner of an asphalt business, Baker, said it's going to take a lot of volunteers to do the framing, flooring, plumbing and electrical work before this upcoming deadline. The community's doing the work themselves, meaning materials are needed in addition to volunteers. Work on the new house starts next week.
"What a great cause to volunteer your time to, to get a family back in their home at Christmas time," said Baker.
The Chennault family has moved in with Baker's family while the new house is being built. Alongside the four children in Baker's own family, there are twelve kids in one house.
"You'd think it'd be a little bit of a cramp, but everyone seems to work together, and it's nothing but a blessing to have them here," said Baker.
With Johnnie Chennault in the US Navy reserve and Ronda Chennault working as a nurse, Baker said the building of a new home is just giving back to people whose lives are about giving.
"These little small towns always seem to be the backbone," said Baker. "It's amazing how 2,000 or 3,000 people can come to somebody's aid."
Baker also told us you can donate to the Chennault family through their fund at US Bank locations. If you'd like to join in constructing the house next week or donating materials, you can stay up-to-date with the efforts by going to https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/521418641283058/.
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1720 Valley View Drive