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EMC VOLUNTEERS HELP DISABLED VET WHO WAS SWINDLED

A disabled Army veteran in East Montgomery County was ripped off by an unscrupulous contractor who was paid to repair a disintegrating bridge that was part of his driveway, but instead took his $5,900 and never returned. Life was becoming increasingly difficult for the 70-year-old, but then local Justice of the Peace James Metts and Constable Rowdy Hayden learned of his plight and began securing supplies and commitments from local businesses to help correct the problem.
Sherry Lilley calls his mobile home “living off the grid” because it can’t be seen from the country road the property connects to, and his heavily wooded property’s driveway crosses a stream before turning toward his home. He was happy with the lifestyle until the bridge began to fall apart and he took out an almost $6,000 loan to pay the contractor and then the man absconded with the funds and changed his phone number.
“He wanted the money for it, so I wound up giving him $5,900 without seeing anything at all,” Lilley said. “After $5,900 to Charlie, I don’t have no more money.”
He has required an ambulance more than once since the only way in and out of his property became impassable. The East Montgomery County Fire Department had to help medics by using an ATV to take Lilley from his house to the ambulance, since it couldn’t use his long driveway with no way to cross the stream.
Last month, Rachel with East Montgomery County Fire Department contacted Scott Engle of Montgomery County Police Reporter, telling him about the disabled vet who was “basically stranded” in his Splendora home. She explained the collapsing bridge not only prevented firefighters and medics from driving to Lilley’s house, but his home healthcare nurse was also unable to drive to him. Lilley later said his last physical exam was performed outside because the nurse couldn’t reach him with no safe way to cross the stream. She also asked him not to drive across it because she was afraid it wouldn’t support any vehicle.
Engle knew Judge Metts owned or had access to heavy equipment because his family has logging and land clearing businesses. He also knew Metts was known for helping those in need when he was able, so he contacted the judge who immediately said he would go check it out and find a way to help. The judge contacted Constable Hayden who also agreed to help, and then he began to secure materials and commitments from businesses to correct the problem.
Around 7 a.m. Wednesday, Judge Metts, Constable Hayden and other volunteers and contributors including Charlie Hairgrove (crushed concrete), Ty Trout Construction, Jamie Metts (Metts Co.), Wade Willis, David Plunkett (sand and road material), Charles Weldon with C. Weldon Services and Les Con Plumbing (over 700 feet of new waterline), Caleb Coats LLC, Ike Jackson of Texas Land Clearing and Michael Squires. They worked all day in the heat and by the day’s end, it was safe to drive from the road to Lilley’s home. First, they removed brush that had been causing the drainage issues. Next was to remove a beaver dam built next to the bridge. Two oilfield matts were then laid across the bridge to strengthen it. After that loads of dirt were brought in and the driveway was rebuilt. Lilly said he had been driving across it in his 4-wheel drive pickup and several times a tire would drop off in a hole, he said he would just back out, adjust a board and try again. As this was going on Constable Rowdy Hayden showed his skills operating a tractor as he dug a 400-foot trench for a new water line. By 4 p.m., the first part of the job was almost complete. Metts and crew now plan to wait for the water in the creek to drop some, and then they’ll come back in and complete the permanent fix. When they do, they plan to demolish the bridge and put in 4-foot concrete culverts Judge Metts already has waiting. A GoFundMe account was started by Judge Metts to help Lilly recover his $5,900 and repay the loan. The work and materials used Wednesday were all donated.
It’s hard to say whether Mr. Lilley or Judge Metts was more moved by the outpouring of support and help. At the end of the day, Judge Metts said, “It’s great to live in East Montgomery County. I can’t thank them enough.”
Constable Hayden also took the matter personally, saying “With my son Josh having left for boot camp a week ago, I was glad for the opportunity to honor Mr. Lilley’s service and it made me feel close to my son whose service is just beginning.”
Many others have assisted by donations ranging from $5 to $500 to the GoFundMe account. Judge Metts said those who couldn’t contribute money or time would be helping by spreading the word and praying for the effort to go well.
As of this writing, the GoFundMe account has raised $1,565 of the $5,900 needed to repay Mr. Lilley’s loan.

GOFUNDME FOR MR. LILLEY

AERIAL VIEW OF WORK DONE

FINAL GRADE

MR LILLEY MANUEVERS THROUGH THE MUD HOLES

LOADS OF SAND DELIVERED

NURSE CHECKS ON MR LILLEY

TESTING THE REPAIRED BRIDGE

WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE BEFORE WORK STARTED WEDNESDAY
EMC FD FIREFIGHTER RACHEL SPENT HER DAY OFF HELPING
SETTING THE MATS

WADE CLEARS BRUSH ALONG DRIVEWAY

BEAVER DAM BUILT NEXT TO BRIDGE
2X6 ADJUSTED EACH TRIP OVER

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