Jason Durrence and Ronnie Thomas of VFW Post 7764, Reidsville, left home about 5 a.m. Saturday morning, August 19, 2023, and met 7th District VFW Commander James Jensen at Fort Stewart to pick up a combined total of nine pallets of half-inch and three quarter-inch 4’x8’plywood sheets. Seven pallets would be delivered to Tabitha’s House in Jesup for use in renovating a two-story 20th century building that will serve as a dormitory for homeless individuals including military veterans. Two pallets would go to VFW 7764 to be used for wheel chair ramp repair or construction projects. Jason picked up a tractor and flatbed trailer provided by Andy Hendrix of Canoochee Transport to haul the plywood, and Ronnie Thomas drove to Fort Stewart to provide a chase vehicle and assist in the operation.
VFW 7764 has moved from the 7th District to the 6th District this year, but a close working relationship with Commander Jensen of the 7th led Jensen to seek assistance from 7764.
They had the nine pallets loaded around 7 a.m., and it was delivered to the site at Tabitha’s House before 8 where they were met by owner/operator Janice Phillips, and Cindi Otto, Chief of Staff for State Commander Patsy Schreiber. After unloading seven pallets at that location, Jason and Ronnie brought two pallets to VFW 7764. This writer, Earl Boyett, and Joe Boyett met the truck at the Reidsville Post to help unload it. However, Ace Hardware of Reidsville provided a forklift and operator Cody Wells to save time and the back muscles of several old men.
When renovated, the Tabitha House in Jesup will provide a place to sleep for men in need while trying to get their lives reorganized. Rules will include no alcohol, smoking or drug usage in the dormitory, and Tabitha House Owner/Manager Janice Phillips has a reputation for strictly enforcing those rules. Following rules is a fundamental step in reorganizing one’s life, and perhaps some of the affected cities in California with people whose lives are in disorder could get some organizational advice from Janice.When Commander Jensen approached Commander McCall and Quartermaster Thomas about the project and asked for help in getting the plywood moved, McCall’s first response was, “Is this a completely legal operation if we pick up the cargo at midnight with the truck headlights turned off?”
Jensen laughed and replied. “No, it’s not hot. They’ve had the plywood in container storage for a while. It was being used to build crates to ship equipment overseas. Previously it was outside and slightly weather stained in some places, but it will work well for the Tabitha House project and some of the projects you might do. They will have an Army forklift and operator at the site to load it for us, and Ace Hardware in Jesup is providing us with a forklift to unload it at the Tabitha location.”
VFW 7764 member Jason Durrence volunteered to get the tractor and flatbed trailer through his boss, Andy Hendrix, and with unloading assistance from Ace Hardware in Jesup and Reidsville, the entire operation turned out to be a good example of community support for ongoing VFW and compatible projects to help people who need it. Nice job, folks.