Every time that Tracee Jackson leaves and returns to her Crosby home, she sees the difference that Lionism makes.
Through the Rebuilding Together Houston program, the Lions and Leos of the Crosby Lions Club coalesced dozens of volunteers who on Saturday, Oct. 15, refurbished Jackson’s Melville Drive home.
Volunteers scraped the loose green paint and replaced it with a beige coat complemented by white newly attached trim and fresh paint under the roof overhang. They also secured or replaced siding as necessary, caulked voids to seal the structure from the elements, and built a wooden front porch, complete with railings.
The team performed interior roof repairs and renovated a bathroom to make it handicapped-accessible.
This is not an exhaustive account of the post-Hurricane Ike renovation.
A 20-year resident, Jackson was away during some of the volunteers’ work, which was carried out under the auspices of the Rebuilding program, a community outreach organization that repairs and renovates homes at no cost to the qualifying need-based homeowners.
When the homeowner returned, she picked up a paint brush and helped.
Having worked side-by-side with volunteers, Jackson insisted that she be called upon to volunteer on the next project, which would improve someone else’s home.
She could not believe the impact of Lionism and the broader display of community service. Upon examining the work, all Jackson knew was that these volunteers were good people; they were her kind of people.
“It overwhelmed me for them to show that much love toward someone that they didn’t know,” Jackson said. “Even though they didn’t know me, we did have common ground, and that was with Jesus.
“I know they had the love of God in them, for them to do something like that for a person they didn’t know — to sacrifice the time that they could have been spending with their families. To come and help me, a person in need, was very overwhelming.”
Volunteers were practically coming out of the woodwork, so to speak. Lions and Leos were joined by members of Crosby Boy Scout Troop 1411, the values-based citizenship of which is consistent with the 1917 founding humanitarian pillar of Lions and Leos.
Lions Clubs are known for their eyesight conservation initiatives and aid to people who suffer from vision loss. They sponsor eye exams, to include preschool vision screening, and collect recyclable eyeglasses strictly for overseas distribution.
Leo is a Lions Clubs community service organization focused on providing “leadership, experience and opportunity” to its youth and young adult membership.
The East Harris County Empowerment Council also was among the organizations represented.
The scope of volunteerism impressed and encouraged organizers.
“You always take a shot in the dark and hopefully everybody says, ‘Yes,’” Crosby Lions Club President Marcus Narvaez said, during the volunteers’ work day. “You hope for the best. Everybody can’t always make it. But this was a great turnout. Some of the people I didn’t even expect to come.
“I think it is fun to do this. To see all the people here gives you more fuel to just keep on working on the house.”
Lions and Leos praised the exemplary team spirit.
“My gosh, it’s awesome,” said Brenda Quintanilla, sponsor of the Crosby Leo Club at Crosby High School, who was painting under the roof overhang on the home’s east side. “Everybody is working together. If you walk around the house, you can see that so much work is getting done because we have so many people who came to volunteer. The Boy Scouts showed up! They are all helping, and it is really a great effort. We’re doing a great job, I think.”
Lionism is an everlasting doctrine, which is a reason Crosby Lions and Leos, whose Facebook page is www.facebook.com/crosbylionsclub, plan to continue helping people and improving neighborhood aesthetics through the Rebuilding program.
“We would like to do more Rebuilding projects,” Quintanilla said. “We are always looking for houses that we can help folks with. One of the biggest challenges that we found, so far, is finding people who would like our help. Sometimes folks don’t really want to step up and say, ‘I need the help.’
“So, if there is anybody out there who would like us to come by with Rebuilding Houston — there are some qualifications they have to meet — we would love to do more jobs like this.”
Jackson was an ideal choice for the project.
“I’ve met her,” Narvaez said. “She is well-deserving.”
Volunteers have been very proud to sacrifice a Saturday for Rebuilding Together Houston.
“I feel good about us fixing the old ladies’ houses,” said Boy Scout Jonathan Bliek, a member of Crosby Troop 1411. “I feel good for painting all of the fences; make her feel better.”
While Jackson was away, Troop 1411 Boy Scout Jacob Peña said that he had hoped the homeowner would return and be “surprised and happy that we helped her with her house.”