Handymen step up to help fix up grieving family's home

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by TERESA WOODARD

WFAA

Posted on July 20, 2012 at 12:13 AM

WATAUGA - It's a modest little house, and it's home for the Hamiltons. It's just a little too empty now, though.

"James was the kind of guy that if he saw someone on the side of the road, he'd do anything for them," Melissa Hamilton said.

James was her husband for ten years. He died in March, while waiting for a new heart.

The last few months of his life were spent in Houston. He received an artificial heart in December. Doctors hoped it would last until a permanent one could be found. But he didn't make it through the spring.

He left behind his wife and two sons, nine-year-old Bowen and a four-year-old Gavin. He also left a "honey do" list that just never got done.

That's where Clint Holly comes in.

"The sink, that's obviously broken," he said inside the Harrison home Thursday night. "Her dishwasher's leaking. She has trouble with her drawers and doors. There are no knobs. We're going to take care of that."

He isn't a plumber, painter, or carpenter. He's just a pretty handy man, with a giving soul.

"If one person sees a good act, they go do a good act for someone else," he said. "It's a chain reaction, and that's what I'm here for."

Holly himself is a young homeowner, with a big circle of friends. In the winter time, he looked around his home and saw projects that would have taken him months to complete if he tried to do them himself. He decided to form a group of guys like him, willing to work on each others' homes. One Saturday every month, seven of them get together and work. They've been doing this since February. The group is called "Bettering Buds' Huts."

This month, they're doing something different.

"We knew we wanted some of this to be charity," Holly said.

On July 28, they'll be tackling the Harrison house. Holly went room to room showing some of the projects they plan to tackle. The list is long.

"When James was in the hospital, one of the things we would concentrate on was what we wanted to do to the house when he got home and got healthy," Melissa said. "He's home now. He's just not home with us."

Holly and his buddies are still looking for donations of money or materials to help them check off everything they want to accomplish. Anyone who would like to help can reach Clint Holly at betteringbudshuts@gmail.com.

They want to add a swing set to the backyard for Gavin and Bowen. They're rebuilding a fence and a gate. They're fixing toilets, closets, sinks, and windows. They're tearing down wood paneling, and tearing up carpet.

"I just think giving is important," Holly said. "The more you get, the more you should give. If we all lived like that, I think everybody benefits."

"I hope these kids know there's still people out there, still good to be had in this world," he said.

Generous hearts are helping heal broken ones.

"It would make him so happy to know that our home, our plans, are being realized," Melissa said of her husband.

She looked at her son Bowen and gave him a kiss.

"We're so blessed," she said. "Aren't we buddy? We're so blessed."

Melissa hopes her story reminds people of the importance of organ donation. James received one heart when he was 18, and needed a second. He passed away at the age of 33.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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