Approximately 433 young adults have descended upon Ada with only one intention: to help improve and repair homes around the Pontotoc County area.

Group Workcamp, a Christian-based organization, along with Tri-CountyOK, have set their sights on homes around the county that are in need of repair.

"Yesterday I talked to Maggie, and she'll contribute because we're contributing," Sammo Clift of Southlake, Texas said. "I just feel so happy we can help her, because she can't really do all of this. It's awesome."

Local Ada resident Maggie Luckey was just one of 54 homeowners chosen to be part of the renovation plans made by Group Workcamp and Tri-CountyOK.

"They're painting, they've already replaced the ceiling in the bathroom, they painted my kitchen ceiling," she said. "They've done a neat job and it's great what they're doing. They're helping me, and to me, they're God sent because I've got a bad back and I don't work, so it's really a blessing to me. They're doing a great job."

The Group Workcamps Foundation was formed in 1977 with the Colorado Flood Disaster Recovery Workcamp. Since the inception, thousands of young men and women and adult leaders have participated in hundreds of workcamps throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

Group Workcamp Director Rex Beale said that the youth have received a welcome response from homeowners and the city of Ada, and explained the type of work the young adults are performing on the homes.

"Ada has just been fantastic as far as reception and the community, and of course TriCounty," he said. "Consequently, they're starting a year and a half before we get here to select residents, to have their homes worked on, at no charge of course to the resident. They have a screening process, so we have about 55 locations that we're working on now, with a little over 400 people. It's exciting, it's great for the residents and young people. We're doing wheelchair ramps, painting, weatherization, that type of thing.

"A large number of residents each lunch with the people, or actually cook for them," he said. "We have one man has cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for the kids, so they just stopped taking their lunch out. The resident response is excellent. We do request that the resident stays at home when we do this work, because part of the process is the spiritual and emotional bonding between the resident and the youth, and that makes for a warm memory that the young people give up their summer time and come and work on somebody's home."

Kelly Bernhart also was hard at work on the Luckey home. Hailing from Wisconsin, she explained why she enjoyed doing this type of work.

"We traveled 22 hours by car to get here," she said. "It's like, I wouldn't want to do this for anyone else, I wouldn't want to do this for myself, it's just helping other people and seeing their faces and reactions when all the work is done and everything. You don't even think like, 'Whoa we could have gotten paid for that.' It's not even thinking like that. It's thinking we helped someone and maybe it wasn't a big thing, but even a new coat of paint helps."

Southlake resident Blake Meyer echoed the same sentiment.

"It's kinda fun, because we came with a pretty big church, so a lot of my friends came," he said. "And we're also helping people, so it's all good."

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