Five Temple Police officers served the community in a slightly different way than normal Thursday as they worked on the first stage of repairs for a local home.
The officers — all donating their time while off duty — swung hammers and jabbed shovels into a concrete porch in order to break it apart.
The men spent about an hour Thursday morning demolishing most of the concrete porch, the first step in repairs being done by Keep Temple Beautiful and numerous other groups. The organization, along with other volunteers, plans to come back to the home, 1410 W. Central Ave., as well as another, 2 N. 25th St., to make repairs and fix the porch.
Tanya Gray, executive director of Keep Temple Beautiful, said the group has partnered with Niagara Bottling Co. and Citizens For Progress to restore the two homes using a grant for home repairs for the economically disadvantaged from Keep Texas Beautiful and BBVA.
“The Temple Police Department has graciously volunteered to assist by removing a porch from one of the houses that Niagara Bottling will rebuild on Saturday,” Gray said. “This is not the first time the (department) has assisted Keep Temple Beautiful and Housing and Community Development on one of our projects.”
The five volunteers were Lt. Tim Simeroth, Deputy Chief Jeffery Clark, Officer Jacob Cehand, Deputy Chief McNeil Fairey and Sgt. Keith Mueller.
Simeroth said it was obvious when they were demolishing the porch that when it was first constructed, those behind the build did it cheaply and with anything they had on hand.
Most of the porch looked to contain various stones of all sizes held together by the concrete. Instead of rebar to keep the porch together, the volunteers found various metal bars that seemed to be scrap from cars or other things that the builder found.
The porch had degraded so badly that with the incline caused water to flow back into the home and underneath it when it would rain, damaging the structure.
Simeroth said work like this, helping revitalize and restore the community, is good from both a police standpoint and for residents like them who drive past these homes each day.
“We are part of the community, we live in the community, we work in the community and we see the problems that are in the community and this is our way of giving back.” Simeroth said. “Police work isn’t all about making arrests and writing tickets. We are also looking at the underlying infrastructure problems … and seeing what we can do. We can’t solve everything but we can deal with problems like this.”
Clark said he has lived in the city for more than two decades and likes to give back when he can, though hasn’t been able to do as much lately.
“I think the main thing is that we are trying to do what we can to give back to the community,” Clark said, with other officers echoing that comment. “I have lived in Temple myself for well over 27 years and I like to do what I can to help citizens out.”
The organization also plans on holding an event at the Lee Crossley Veterans Community on Saturday where they will help create a handicapped-accessible garden for the veterans to help them deal with post traumatic stress disorder.