It was a beautiful day in Oak Grove Estates, on January 16, 2021 with Impact Cares on ‘Project Day.’ Oak Grove is nestled in Kerrville, Texas, a beautiful community with a long history.
Did you know it was almost 180 years ago that this land was first given to a soldier in honor of his having served in the Texas War of Independence in the 1830’s? Later, Joshua D. Brown, having bought the land, donated a portion to the county as the place of the new county seat of Kerr County. It was at this time the town was named ‘Kerrsville’ in honor of a friend named James Kerr. (It was sometime in the 1850’s when the ‘s’ was dropped from the name). After the Civil war, another immigrant, Joseph Tivy, settled and gave land so a school could be built.
Today, the names of Joshua Brown, James Kerr and Joseph Tivy have long been forgotten but their legacy lives on in Oak Grove Estates. That legacy of being a neighbor, of giving, of lending a helping hand is still alive and well in this community. Impact Cares was privileged to be here during the first two weeks of this year and what a delight it was!
During our time there we had 2 local volunteers, 5 residents and 14 Impact employees come out to work, encourage, trim trees, build decks, clean but above all, bring hope, joy and a sense of ‘we’re in this together’ to Oak Grove. We met a wide variety of people, from one who lived through the blitzkrieg in London to a minister who is also an insurance adjuster, to a young couple just starting a family to a single father raising two teenagers, to a ‘recluse’ (who eventually came to have a great time), to a young man who struggles with some disabilities. Some have lived in Oak Grove for decades and some have just moved in within the last three months. Some are younger; some are on the other end of life’s journey. Yet, with this wide variety, there does appear to be a common bond of a close-knit community that looks out for each other as best they can.
One resident put the day this way. “I have lived here 41 years and now for the first time I don’t have to worry if I will fall when I go out of my house. My steps are really sturdy now and safe.” That’s what it’s all about, on the physical side of things. During our time there, decks were built or repaired, steps were built, handrails were put on, fencing was put in, trees were trimmed, and doors were repaired so they could be used again. Debris was carried away, yards were spruced up, and houses were power washed. It was a two-week ‘make-over’ event. But that was all in the ‘physical’ realm.
What happened in the ‘personal’ realm will have a much bigger and longer lasting effect. Imagine you don’t have many, if any friends. Now imagine a pandemic comes along that forces you to stay inside, be somewhat fearful and be cut off from those who live right next to you. Now imagine this going on, not for a few days or weeks but for months on end. Then, one day, a team comes and you are recommened by neighbors who care about you to have your place spruced up. Imagine with me the joy this would bring, not only having your deck repaired so you can use it again safely, but more importantly meeting some new people, making new friends, and even sharing a meal together. This is how memories are fashioned and communities are shaped and molded into places where people love to live, love to give and love to be involved.
Kerrville, an old place with a long legacy that is still on-going despite everything the world is going through right now. Do I hear an ‘Amen’ for Kerrville? For Oak Grove Estates? For Impact Cares?
Russ Ooms on behalf of Impact Cares