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1/31/04 - Henderson

Volunteers Help Clean Sewage-Stained Home

Jackie Grovner came home more than two weeks ago to find raw sewage backing up from her toilet and bathtub. It stained her carpet, furniture, and walls and caused thousands of dollars in damage. The city said its insurance doesn't cover the costs; neither does Grovner's.

"I've been depressed sometimes," Grovner said. "And I sit and think about it, you know. But I think about the point, it could be worse."

But instead of getting worse, today, it got better. About a dozen volunteers showed up at Grovner's house, ready to spend the day cleaning and painting.

"When I arrived, I didn't expect this many people," Grovner said.

The volunteer effort all began with a man who attended this week's Henderson City Council meeting.

"I heard the lady's story," Jack Johnson, of Henderson, said. "And I guess I was just at the podium before I realized I was there. I didn't have any idea what I was going to say when I went up to the podium and talked to the people there."

What he ended up saying was a plea for help for Jackie Grovner. Sherwin Williams donated paint and rollers. Today, volunteers came from all over Henderson.

"Most of them are teachers, nurses, a lot of ladies working here, coaches from the high school, church folks from her church," Johnson said.

"I'm just thankful they showed up," Grovner said.

And they say they won't leave until they've left a clean slate for Grovner to start over.

"Believe me, it's a blessing," Grovner said. "Hopefully, sometime we'll be back in our house. We'll just take it one day at a time."

At least now, Grovner is one day closer to making her house feel like home again.

An anonymous woman donated new carpet, which will be put in Grovner's home. If you'd like to help, a fund has been set up at the Citizens National Bank in Henderson. It's called the "Jackie Grovner Tragedy Fund." You can call 903-657-8521.

Julie Tam, reporting.

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