LTRC provides couple with ‘first real home’
by Jennifer Cohron
Feb 16, 2013 | 2107 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lester and Janie Chambless of Parrish sit in their new home in Parrish, thanks to the Walker County Long Term Recovery Committee which helped construct the new home. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
Lester and Janie Chambless of Parrish sit in their new home in Parrish, thanks to the Walker County Long Term Recovery Committee which helped construct the new home. Daily Mountain Eagle - Jennifer Cohron
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In almost 50 years of marriage, Lester and Janie Chambless have had only one house that they could call their own.

It was destroyed on April 27, 2011, when a tornado passed over Parrish, knocking a tree through the kitchen.

The Chamblesses lived in the front yard in a camper trailer provided to them by FEMA for nearly a year. However, health problems eventually forced them to move to Florida to be near family members.

Janie Chambless suffered a debilitating stroke several years ago, and Lester Chambless has dementia.

They are currently cared for by their daughter, Debi Ingram Tull, and granddaughter, Donna Tull.

Debi Tull said that after a lifetime of moving from place to place, it was her parents’ last wish to return to the one piece of property they had ever owned.

“In Daddy’s mind, this is his home. That’s all he talked about,” she said.

In August 2012, someone told Tull about the Walker County Long Term Recovery Committee. She approached the group about assistance with patching the house, which was so unsafe that black mold was growing in one of the bedrooms and the family had fallen through the floor on two occasions.

Instead of repairs, LTRC approved the Chamblesses for a total rebuild.

Volunteers from Maple Grove Mennonite Church and Hartville Mennonite Church in Hartville, Ohio arrived in Walker County in early January. Within a month, the teams had completed two homes — the Chamblesses’ in Parrish and Mekie McElrath’s in Cordova.

House blessings were held for both families on Wednesday, February 6.

“This is their first real home,” Tull said.

“It’s taken them a while to really understand that this is theirs to enjoy,” Donna Tull added.