By Maribeth Holtz

SWEETSER, Ind. - Why would men use their free time to work on a roof?

"It needs to be done. Trudy needs some help," the Rev. Doug Barton said nonchalantly.

The act of kindness seems normal to group members from the Faith in Action team from Mount Olive United Methodist Church. But it's an act of kindness appreciated by homeowner Trudy Foster, who has seen the community pull together for her in the past 35 years.

"It's terrific to have such marvelous friends," she said. "I've been blessed and blessed, more than I deserve."

Foster, who has lived in her downtown Sweetser home since 1960, said the repaired roof is one of many projects she has seen over the years.

Foster's children - Laurence and Tracy - were in a car that was hit by a drunk driver in 1972. It was a fatal collision for Tracy. Laurence survived with a brain stem injury that left him bedridden until he died in 2003.

"The whole community, (and) then some, just surrounded us and helped us," Foster said.

From the day of the accident, when a school teacher stayed by Laurence's side, to this week when five men began tearing off an old roof to replace it with a new one, Foster said she has seen prayers answered.

"So many, many things," she said. "I'm writing a book. It's going to be actually a testimony of what the good Lord's done for me in blessing me."

Foster has received food at Christmas, replaced plumbing, donations of furniture and gifts and had her house painted.

The roof of the 100-year-old family home was leaking, she said, and family friend Tim Ravenscroft worked to get a grant to fix it.

She said the rural development grant is designed for low-income people and the elderly.

"It's unbelievable, really, and it's very comforting." Foster said. "On my own, I know I couldn't have done any of this."

Barton said the work will continue until completed. The women's group at the church provides food for the workers. Barton said that by by doing work for others, the group is doing what the Bible tells them to do. Almost every Saturday, men from the church are working on a project in the community, he said.

By the end of next week, Barton said Foster will have a dry house, and he hopes their work will help her live there for as long as she wants to.

"Trudy's just a good friend, and we like to help her out," Barton said.

"I just think more people need to get involved in helping others. That's kind of our motto at Mount Olive. You see a need and fill it."

Maribeth Holtz writes for the Marion Chronicle-Tribune. Story used by permission. All rights reserved. Marion Chronicle-Tribune®