New mission draws variety of volunteers

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Billy Tate, auctioneer for Tate Auction Service of Clovis, makes a Monday inspection of items that will be auctioned off Saturday at the Curry County Fairgrounds Pavilion to provide funds for the Lighthouse Mission.

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

Area businesses are stepping forward to try and make a new Lighthouse homeless shelter a reality.

A contractor and plumber have offered their services in constructing the new facility, an auctioneer is helping with a charity auction and a local retired couple with a background in antiques have donated a barn full of antiques for a Saturday benefit auction.

Cheryl Roper said when she saw a flyer about the project, she approached her father, Leonard Roper, about helping out.

Leonard Roper, a contractor in the area for more than 25 years, has helped build churches in numerous communities and knows how to negotiate low bids and help when project money is tight, she said.

He has volunteered his services as general contractor on the project. Executive Director Richard Gomez said Leonard Roper, “is going to be like the team coach,” bringing together an overseeing all the services needed on the project.

Leonard Roper was out of town Monday and could not be reached for comment. Speaking on his behalf, Cheryl Roper said the Lighthouse was a project she felt called to help with and her father agreed with no hesitation.

Struggling with illness in recent years, she said, “if it wasn’t for my parents, I could be in the same shoes as those people.

“I’ve seen the hardship, but I’ve also seen the love and the giving that (the Lighthouse people) are doing. I was so touched by them that I wanted to help.”

Mark Carpenter said he offered up his plumbing services and materials for the job because he believes in the Lighthouse Mission.

Carpenter said in years past he worked for WT Denton Mechanical and remembers them donating to other Lighthouse projects.

“When I had the opportunity,” Carpenter said, “I decided that I would do the same thing, now that I have my own business.

“I always feel like it’s a good thing to give back to your community.”

The facility will need 10 toilets, six showers, hot water heaters, kitchen sinks and other plumbing to make it functional. Carpenter said his business is a little slower during the spring and summer months, so it’s the perfect time to jump in and help.

“I just really believe in what they’re doing,” Carpenter said. “I think helping other people when they’re down on their luck is the right things to do.”

The new shelter, which will be built in the vicinity of the existing Lighthouse Mission at 407 L. Casillas Road, will accommodate 24 men and women as well as two families.

Gomez said the hope is to break ground in June and have the building ready by next winter.

Estimates place the project around $350,000, he said.

The auction will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday in the pavilion at the Curry County Fairgrounds, with the proceeds going to help offset project costs, Gomez said.

Money still needs to be raised, he said, to pay for electricians, heating and air conditioning, carpenters, dirt work, paving and concrete and all the other elements of bring the building to fruition.

Anita Merrill said when she and her husband Lester heard of the project, they decided to help by donating antiques they had in storage. The couple, who previously dealt antiques, said donating the items helps all parties — they are planning a move to Rio Rancho to be closer to family, and lightening the load helps.

“We do donate quite a few things to the Lighthouse Mission from time to time,” she said.“I think (Richard Gomez) does a good service there. This dorm will be a really necessary thing for the community in trying to help people get back on their feet.”

Gomez said it has always been the generosity of the community that has kept his mission going.

“We know that our community will pull through and help us with this,” he said.