Speed Reads

lending a hand

Neighbors turn the tables and fix handyman's roof

For decades, James "Mac" McWhorter has been sprucing up the homes of his neighbors — and when it came time for his house to receive some TLC, they were ready to return the favor.

McWhorter told USA Today that he started doing odd jobs here and there, and as word spread that he did good work, "it seemed like all of a sudden I became the neighborhood handyman." No job was too big or too small, and "anything you needed, he could do," neighbor Carmen Merritt said. McWhorter was so busy helping others take care of their houses that his own home was falling into disrepair, and when Merritt noticed he needed a new roof, she started talking to other neighbors about ways to assist McWhorter. 

"Almost immediately there were people offering to donate," Merritt said. Neighbor Millie Woods, an interior designer, took the lead on the project, and made sure McWhorter was able to enjoy the experience without doing any work. "The thing about Mac, twice I had to stop him from getting on a ladder to get up on that roof," Woods told USA Today. "I said, 'Mac, you can't help with this job, you don't need to do this anymore. This is something that you deserve because you've done this for other people for so many years and you need it and now it's your turn.'"