UM Army Hard At Work This Week In Longview - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/14/04-Longview

UM Army Hard At Work This Week In Longview

130 teenagers, armed with a paint brush and hammer, have come to east Texas from all over the state. They are members of the UM ARMY.

It's a youth group with the United Methodist church that has given up one week in their summer to fix up the homes of needy families. The kids want to leave behind more than just a fresh coat of paint. This is how a handful of high school teenagers started this week on Monday scraping paint off a stranger's home.

They are just a few of more than a hundred teenagers in Longview. Many have been here before but this is the first year for Rebecca Carranca. "I hear about it every year so I decided to come this year," says Rebecca. "Right now we have to scrape this whole house and paint it and we're going to redo a few shutters for her I think and a few windows."

The teens come from all over the state to help the needy. Since Monday they have started each day bright and early by 5:30 a.m.

"It's just you and god and witnessing to other people. There's really not much better than that," says Kyle Ransom.

"Oh I feel great because I didn't have the money to have it painted. I thank God," says homeowner Ethel Copeland. Ethel has lived in this home for the past ten years. It has needed a fresh coat of paint for a long time but there just hasn't been anyone to do it, until now.

"I can already see the results in people's faces when they see us working. It's a great improvement for the community," says Rebecca.

By Wednesday the scraping was finished and the painting had begun. Ethel's three grandchildren just so happened to be visiting this week from Dallas, witnessing the kindness of others.

"We come here to paint houses but really we're here to worship and witness to those who really need to hear it, " says Kyle.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com

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