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Help comes to church damaged by car set afire

The Full Gospel Truth Church has a small membership — about 20 people — and not many resources to pay for unexpected bills.

Unexpected is just what it got, though, on Dec. 29 when a stolen car was set on fire against the back wall of the church in south Modesto. The result was a large hole in the roof and damage to the music room, nursery and sanctuary.

"We don't have the money to fix the holes, so we are hoping for help from the community," said Annette Blevins, wife of the church's pastor, Brian Blevins.

Help is what they are getting, thanks to Advancing Vibrant Communities, a nonprofit agency that pairs needs in the community with churches and individuals who can help.

"We're looking for volunteers to help with drywall repair, and we have some carpeting that can help them immediately," said Michael Douglas, chief executive officer of AVC.

A contractor from Roseville heard about the church's woes from a television report and helped repair the roof.

"It's better than it was before the accident," said Brian Blevins. "We're just very appreciative of what anybody can do to help. We want to finish these ruins and then build a fence. We need one."

If anyone wants to help with this project or other similar needs, call AVC at 544-9571.

Diana Campiotti of Modesto wrote to thank the people who pulled over to help catch a dog running on Highway 108 near Riverbank earlier this month.

Diana said her family took the dog home and looked in The Bee to see if a lost dog like the one they found was in the classified ads. It was.

"I called right away and the owner said the dog is 14 years old and cannot see or hear as well as she used to," Diana said. "She has never strayed away from her home in 14 years. She is now back safe and sound with her owner because so many people stopped and helped."

More than 150 employees, physicians and family members of Kaiser Permanente Central Valley spent the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Day helping Habitat for Humanity.

The volunteers helped do light construction, paint, plasterboard and other chores on a house on Tenaya Drive in Modesto. Habitat provides housing for low-income families, who help pay for their new home with "sweat equity" as they join in the construction process. Habitat can always use volunteers, donations and other resources. Call 575-4585.

Jennifer Van Dyk of Modesto wrote to thank her newspaper carrier. No, not for getting The Bee to her door on time, but for something more.

"On the morning of Jan. 5, she found my wallet by the side of my car when delivering my morning paper," Jennifer said. "I hadn't even realized my wallet had fallen out of my purse the previous evening.

"In the rush of collecting my wallet from her, I didn't catch her name and she wouldn't accept a reward for her good deed. It's time like this that good people do still exist."

Yes they do. And just for the record, the carrier's name is Maria Castro.

Do you have a story about someone who has helped others or is a terrific role model? Send a brief item to Sue Nowicki at P.O. Box 5256, Modesto 95352 or e-mail