A compassionate gesture

People come to the House of Compassion in Marshalltown seeking food, shelter, personal care products and assistance in getting back on their feet. However, it isn’t everyday that the house itself benefits from the same sort of compassion it gives out on a daily basis.

This week, Josh Adkins walked into the House of Compassion and approached its director Karen Frohwein, about the roof being in need of patching and his interest in offering his repair services. Frohwein told Adkins that indeed she realized the structure was in need of new shingles and Kevin Jones, the house’s volunteer maintenance supervisor, was called over. However, what Adkins was about to offer was something Frohwein and Jones were not expecting; Adkins and his Adkins Construction crew were offering to repair the roof right then and there, free of charge.

“I used to live on North 2nd Street and would drive by saying to myself the roof needed to be fixed and I wanted to do it,” Adkins said.

Adkins and his crew had just completed a construction project in the neighborhood and decided to drop in and let the folks running the House of Compassion know they wanted to lend a hand.

“I had never met him before. He was a total stranger,” Frohwein said. “Needing to fix the roof is not something we put out there as a need. I knew it needed to be done, as we have an old building and it’s hard to keep things repaired.”

Adkins and his crew, consisting of Bradley Starn, James Coughenour and Adam Clawson, spent around 90 minutes patching up the roof, even supplying the shingles. What made their efforts particularly noteworthy is the fact that they were able to reach the place on the roof that was in need of repair.

“They had to reach 40 feet high to get to the spot,” Frohwein said. “Not everyone has the right lift to do that. It almost didn’t stretch.”

Residents of the house and folks living nearby, came out to watch the efforts. Later in the day, Frohwein posted photos and a short account of the repair project on Facebook, as a way of paying Adkins a compliment about his civic-minded gesture.

However, within an hour of writing the post, it became clear the story was warming the hearts of the House of Compassion’s many champions. At press time, her post had 1,700 likes, more than 300 shares and around 100 comments. People posting their comments expressed gratitude for Adkins’ actions, some calling it heaven-sent. Interest was also expressed in encouraging every person who “likes” the post to donate to the House of Compassion.

“They give back to the homeless and I figured I could give back to make sure they don’t have a leaky roof,” Adkins said.

“I believe there are angels among us,” Frohwein said. “I hope this makes people smile.”

The volunteer-driven shelter offers a supply closet, open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon and 1-4:30 p.m. In addition, its soup kitchen serves meals daily from 5-6:15 p.m., excluding Saturdays and an overnight shelter provides a warm bed and meal to men, women and children. To get involved or to learn more, contact Frohwein at 641-752-5999.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)