Tools Stolen From Local Volunteer Builders, Church - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

6/5/07-Smith County

Tools Stolen From Local Volunteer Builders, Church

Eddie Hardin and Troy Portwood assumed the tools would be safe, locked up behind one of the churches the group helped build.

But now, Eddie says, "We're shut down. We're absolutely t-totally shut down. We can't do anything."

Ten thousand dollars worth of donated tools were snatched from their trailer sometime within the last two weeks. The group uses those tools to work on construction projects at local churches.

Troy says, "We had saws.  We had a table saw, two mitre saws.  We had one cut-off saw."

Now, all of those tools are gone.

"At first, I was kind of angry, but then, I realized as a Christian, they were not stealing from me or from any of our men. They were stealing from God," says Troy.

The volunteer builders used their time and those stolen tools to finish the sanctuary at the Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, but what they are concerned about is what will happen to all of the projects they are currently working on.

Take this parsonage at the Calvary Baptist Church in Brownsboro for example. The small congregation was relying on the volunteer builders to help them save on construction costs.

Pastor Wiley Zinn says, "They've been very willing to give of themselves sacrificially and go above and beyond what they 've been asked to do many times, and it just is something that really breaks my heart."

"I'm sure the parsonage will be built. There's no doubt in my mind, but they were relying on us to do it," says Eddie.

Now, they will have to turn to someone else.

The sheriff's department is looking into the theft, but the volunteer builders say they don't have any leads.

If you would like to help, you can make donations to the Smith Baptist Association Volunteer Builders at 3226 Old Jacksonville Highway; Tyler, Texas 75701.  Make sure any cash or check donations are designated for the tool fund.

Lindsay Wilcox/Reporting:


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