Volunteers help former pastor stay in his home

Posted at 12:06 AM, Feb 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-28 00:06:55-05

CINCINNATI – A Roselawn man will be able to sleep in his home tonight thanks to People Working Cooperatively.

Willie Thomas was a pastor at Christ Emmanuel Christian Fellowship and Cincinnati police chaplain. However, he developed an aggressive arthritis that requires him to use crutches or a wheelchair to get around.

Thomas needed the kinds of resources he once helped others get in order to stay in his home with his wife and two sons.  That’s when People Working Cooperatively lent a hand.

PWC is a group of volunteers who help seniors and disabled homeowners. Years ago, Thomas had attended a fundraiser for the group. He never thought he’d end up as a client.

“They’ve kept me in this house,” he said. “We had contemplated moving into a nursing home, but I knew I wasn’t ready for that.”

Thomas said the team went above and beyond to help him out, spending weeks working in his house.

“They did the job as if they were working in their own home,” Thomas said.

PWC performed extensive work, replacing a bathtub with a step-in shower, installing banisters and handrails and even replacing a furnace they found was leaking carbon monoxide and a refrigerator that was old.

“I said, ‘there has to be a hidden camera somewhere,’” Thomas said. “This is just unbelievable.”

They still call him to follow up and check how things are going.

“You just don’t get that in this day and age, when everybody just does enough to get by,” he said.

Thomas said he’s eternally grateful for everything the group has done for him.

“They just didn’t come out to do the job because they had a work order,” he said. “They came out and they assessed the needs, and so they were able to do more than what was needed by them. PWC goes beyond the scope of service.”

PWC is hosting a “Hometown Hollywood” gala fundraiser at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Sunday night. 9 On Your Side anchors Craig McKee and Julie Dolan will emcee the event.