Act of Kindness

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, June 30, 2010

UPPER TOWNSHIP — A little more than a month ago, Bob Dalton’s family could only look at their State Route 93 home in disbelief.

When the heavy rains came May 2, floodwaters knocked out a wall from the house’s foundation and inundated the main floor as well. The family escaped the flash flood safely and saved some belongings, but the house itself was left uninhabitable.

But the Daltons have discovered they have friends they’ve never met and those friends are lending a hand when the Daltons most need help.

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Seventeen people from the Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Dublin are spending part of this week in Lawrence County repairing the Dalton house. The visit was arranged by Lutheran Social Services, an organization that provides emergency assistance to people in crisis.

Prince of Peace pastor, the Rev. Craig Swanson, said the volunteers are replacing damaged drywall and insulation as well as flooring and subflooring.

While the volunteers may not get everything on their to-do list done by the time they leave later this week, they will have made some progress in returning the Daltons to their home.

Shirley Dalton, Bob Dalton’s mother, said she was thrilled that people who don’t know her son and his family have come this distance to perform an act of kindness such as this. She described the visit as a blessing from God.

“These are the most wonderful, caring, Christian people I’ve ever met in my life,” she said. “It’s unbelievable how all this is happening.”

The volunteers are staying in the basement of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Ironton. Some of them are as young as 15, working alongside more experienced adults and learning the ins and outs of home repair.

For Nathan Bolwerk, who turns 17 in September, and Seth Yeack who will be 17 in August, this trip to Lawrence County is their first.

It is also an opportunity to perform a little demolition work, something right up a teenager’s alley.

“I’m getting to bust down drywall,” Bolwerk said. “Usually we’re just putting it in.”

The Lutherans are getting some help from Bob Murnahan, a friend of the Dalton family who worked alongside the out-of-towners Tuesday and who has been a steady source of strength since the May 2 flooding.

If there are lessons to be learned from the Daltons ordeal, it is that friendship sometimes spans miles and draws people together even under the worst of circumstances.

Swanson said he hoped that the Daltons know “there are people who care. It doesn’t matter we’ve never met this family. They’re hurting and we’re in a position to help. And that’s what God called us to do, to help other people.”