Struggling family gets a new home

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UNION, S.C. (AP) - Andrea Gallman said she witnessed a miracle nine years ago when her father survived a farming accident.

On Aug. 15, almost on the anniversary of that accident, another miracle came rolling down her driveway - a new home for her and her children, Jessica, 20, and John, 16.

"It's amazing," Andrea said. "You can only say that God had His hand in this. One person couldn't have done this by himself."

A series of misfortunes and health problems had left the family living in an 11-by-51, two-bedroom, one-bath 1969 mobile home that had fallen into disrepair.

But that didn't stop Jessica and John from wanting to help others. Jessica, a junior at University of South Carolina-Upstate and John, a sophomore at Union County High School, both volunteered this summer for Salkehatchie Summer Service. Through the program, United Methodist Church youth and adult volunteers travel to other counties to repair homes for the less fortunate.

"I got to thinking that this house is better than the one I am living in," Jessica said. "I struggled with that. I went to the pastor, Chris Snelgrove, who was the director. I told him the way I felt."

As the youth returned to their home churches, word spread about the Gallmans' plight.

Snelgrove, pastor of Walnut Grove United Methodist Church, said those who had heard Jessica speak were determined to help her.

"God was going to do something," Snelgrove said.

At least 10 churches in Beaufort, Columbia, Lexington, Spartanburg, Chester and Union became involved. Main Street United Methodist Church in Columbia donated $4,000. Others also raised funds.

A three-bedroom, two-bath mobile home, 14-by-75 in size, was purchased for the family for $8,000. The group spent $2,500 moving it and the remainder of the money is being spent remodeling the home.

On Aug. 15, volunteers moved the Gallmans' older trailer and pulled the new trailer into its place.

Andrea, 46, said the new home, with its dishwasher and garden tub, is a dream come true. The family had lived in the old mobile home for 19 years. Andrea has been a single mother since Jessica was 6. She is battling diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. John was born without a large chest muscle on his left side and ribs that were not connected to his breastbone. He had serious surgery involving a bone graft when he was 6 years old.

For seven years, Andrea took care of her ailing grandmother. Two days before she started back to college, her father lost his leg, and she took care of him during his recovery. She is a substitute teacher in the Union County School District.

Jessica, who hopes to do mission work when she graduates from college and seminary, said she expected nothing in return for her service with Salkehatchie.

"I am just so humbled," she said. "God has blessed me and my family remarkably."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.





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