North Texas

Yard Cleanup Help for Veteran Turns Into Home Renovation Project

What started as a yard cleanup effort for a North Texas veteran turned into a complete home renovation project spearheaded by volunteers.

Before this week, Blake Moore of Justin didn't know much about his neighbor Richard Cropper.

Cropper approached Moore after he needed a jump for his car, which wouldn't start. That's when Moore said Cropper mentioned the growing pile of debris outside his home.

"It was a pile of stuff here, there was a pile of stuff there. The yard was growing up past my knees in most places and over my head in some places," Moore said. "He said it's just gotten out of hand. He said, I've never been this far gone. It was in his eyes."

That's when Moore took to Facebook and asked if anyone had a trailer he could borrow to help his neighbor clean up. Cropper has lived on Faith Court in Justin for decades, moving there after he served in the U.S. Army.

Cropper lives alone and said he doesn't have family in the Justin area. Throughout the years, he said work and complications with family took a toll as conditions on his home slowly took a downturn, both inside and outside.

"It's kind of like, you don't see it right away. It just sort of creeps in there," he said. "When you get like that you don't really have a whole lot of places to go, you just sort of try to like… muddle through and try to take care of things as you go and hopefully, you take care of it before it takes care of you."

Moore's call for a trailer quickly grew to be much bigger, with other community members offering their time. Within a matter of days, more help poured in.

Jeremiah Dye runs a local construction company and saw Moore's post.

"We've had companies donate 100 sheets of drywall, so we can demo the house down to bare bones, go through, pull the insulation in," Dye said. "Richard is basically getting a fresh start, day one. Let's get you out of this mud, muck, and mire. What do you want to do with it?"

In the coming days, Dye said they'll focus on finishing things like painting and plumbing. They hope to have furniture in the home by Thursday.

As for Cropper, he said the fresh start isn't solely with a new home. It's also newfound friends.

From this effort, Moore created a Facebook group named "Justin Case Justin Time" for future projects within the community. Anyone interested in volunteering was asked to visit their page.

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