Labor of love

Staff Writer
Brownwood Bulletin
Freedom Fellowship church volunteers are pictured at a recent work day at the home of Dan and Delores Chapman.

EARLY — Through volunteer labor and a GoFundMe campaign, the Freedom Fellowship church in Early has a goal of making over the home of the church’s former pastor and his wife, Dan and Delores Chapman.

The goal is to make the home handicapped accessible so Delores Chapman, a stroke survivor, can come home from a nursing home.

Dan Chapman was the pastor of the church for 29 years when it was known as Trinity Chapel. Jim Maxwell now serves as the church’s pastor.

Church member Mary Thomas’ summary on the GoFundMe page explains the need:

“My name is Mary Thomas, and I am related to Dan and Delores Chapman. Many of you remember when Delores Thomas Chapman was devastated by a major stroke on May 27, 2016. Having been in a nursing and rehab facility, going  above and beyond on her physical therapy, doing her part and believing God to do His part, she is now ready to transition to her home. Freedom Fellowship Church has totally redone the outside of the home, but the inside needs to be made  handicapped accessible.

“They have two small bathrooms that need to be totally demolished and made into one large new one,  making it convenient for her to  use. Should there be extra monies come in, it will go to making the rest of the home accessible. Pastor Jim Maxwell, a contractor, will oversee the project. Anything you can give to help, will be most appreciated, because this will determine if she can go home or not.”

Dan Chapman, 81, is Mary Thomas’ brother. Thomas’ husband, former Early City Manager Ken Thomas, is the brother of Delores Chapman, who is 78.

Mary and Ken Thomas explained in a phone interview that Dan Chapman has been quarantined in the nursing home with his wife, where he chose to remain to be with her.

“She has been quarantined with Dan Chapman for about four months,” Mary Thomas continued in the GoFundMe summary. Three months ago they lost their son Jason, to an untimely death, making this the most difficult  time in their lives. They need their lives back and I pray that we can make it happen.”

A group of volunteers from the church recently had a work day at the Chapmans’ home, where they’ve lived since buying it new in 1964, Ken Thomas said. The volunteers made exterior improvements including replacing rotted trim and siding and painting.

“He is anxious to get her home,” Mary Thomas said. “They want their life back.”

Maxwell spoke to the Freedom Fellowship congregation on a recent Sunday morning, saying “we have determined that we’re going to make this house over. The outside is only the beginning.”

Additional church workdays will be scheduled at the Chapmans’ home, Maxwell said.