Neighbors build home for South Congaree man

(The State) Robert Shumpert moved into his new home in South Congaree on Sunday with a party thrown by friends who built it.

“Thank you,” he told a gathering of more than 100 persons who came to celebrate. “That’s all I can say.”

His new dwelling replaces a 55-year-old mobile home in the center of the Lexington County community that town officials deemed unlivable last fall.

The effort to provide the 74-year-old Shumpert a new place became a community project coordinated by members of Ebenezer Pentecostal Holiness Church.

“His situation went unrecognized,” said the Rev. Gene Henderson, pastor of the 300-member congregation. “When we realized the problem, everyone came together.”

Volunteers spent Saturdays putting up the 900 square-foot home with donated materials. Local builders also provided free services.

“We didn’t have a lot but we all put in a little in the pot and this is the result,” Henderson said.

Shumpert marveled at the fully furnished home, complete with a life-size cardboard cutout of actor John Wayne and plenty of his favorite soft drinks in a new refrigerator.

“Thank God for the television,” Shumpert said. “I won’t be so lonesome.”

Leaders of the effort that produced the home promise he won’t be overlooked again.

A network of residents plans to look after the developmentally disabled Shumpert to assure his needs are met, former town clerk Patt Shull said.

EDITOR’S NOTE

Mr. Gary Shull alerted Lake and Main to this story almost two weeks ago. I sent an email to Rev. Henderson for details, but he did not respond.

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