Asbury UMC in Bossier City partners with area churches in Katy Build project
July 11, 2015
Two Bossier churches have joined together to turn a tragic ending into a triumphant beginning for local veterans.
Emily Perdue, 16, Katy Watkins, 16, and Molly Reed, 15, were killed in an automobile accident in October of 2006 while driving on I-49 through DeSoto Parish. Through this tragedy, their church homes have found a way to keep their memory and servant hearts alive.
First Baptist Bossier will sponsor the Emily Perdue home and the Simple Church will sponsor the Molly Reed home. Both homes will be built in the Scott-Dickerson neighborhood in Bossier City.
Asbury United Methodist Church has already constructed two homes in honor of Katy Watkins through a partnership with the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana.
The Katy Build journey began in 2011. A home was built for a deserving first time veteran homeowner and the first Fuller Center home in Bossier City was dedicated on August 11, 2012. The second home built on “Katy's Corner” was dedicated on May 10, 2014.
Angela Pfanner, program director for Asbury UMC, said the new partnership with First Bossier and the Simple Church will continue and expand their original vision.
“There's more to this story than just the house that Asbury built,” Pfanner said. “The idea of building homes for Emily and Molly was a hope for Katy's church and family from the start. It's a way to share a legacy of love in a way that makes a lasting difference.”
Looking at the bigger picture, Pfanner said the focus has turned to uniting the community.
“The girls were about building bridges and we are working collectively, as churches, because that's how they lived,” she said. “There's tragedy in this, but there's something much more powerful to it.”
Not only did First Bossier and the Simple Church embrace the idea of Katy Build, but they are ready and eager to get their own projects going.
Brad Jurkovich, senior pastor at First Baptist, felt inspired and encouraged by the Katy Build mission. Although he never met Emily, he feels it's important to carry on “the testimony of a young lady who was so strong in her faith for the Lord.”
“Emily was a go getter,” Jurkovich said. “Emily would put on a t-shirt and be out there to help. She wasn't afraid to help.”
Bryan Reed, North Community pastor for the Simple Church, said his daughter, Molly Reed, would do the same. He recalled finding a journal that Molly was writing in before she died.
One common message she wrote about was having a servant heart and “it's not about me” lifestyle.
“One of my favorite pictures is Molly holding a paintbrush and painting a house somewhere,” Bryan said.
“She was living to serve others. She picked that up on her first mission trip in the ninth grade. This home will be part of her legacy.”
Asbury's Katy Build I and II projects gave homes to two local veterans through a partnership with the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana, whose goal is to build affordable new homes for low-income individuals who currently do not have adequate housing and are unable to obtain adequate financing through other conventional means.
Lee Jeter, Executive Director of the Fuller Center, praised the work of these groups for their continued involvement in serving their communities.
“It's an honor to have the Simple Church and First Bossier come on board,” Jeter said. “To have three churches working together like this with the same mission is a first for us. It really shows the work we want to do in the city of Bossier. We see this as a collaborative partnership – public, private and faith-based – that has us all working together for the benefit of our community. It's a gift that will keep on giving.”
Homeowners have not been selected and construction dates have yet to be decided for the Molly Reed and Emily Perdue homes. Asbury United Methodist Church hosted a tennis tournament in May to raise funds for the Katy Build Project, which will eventually provide additional housing in Bossier City for first time veteran home owners. The tournament raised just over $16,000 in donations.
This is the 10th anniversary year for the Fuller Center for Housing of Northwest Louisiana. For more information, visit www.fullercenternwla.org.
Excerpts published with permission from Bossier Press-Tribune.