Love in Action – Project Virgil

July 20, 2021

The LOVE IN ACTION CELEBRATION of the completion of “Project Virgil” was attended by well over 100 people as well as reporters and photographers from three Knoxville channels. The home built for veteran Virgil Sitzler, was dedicated with a 25 minute ceremony followed by brief tours of the home for all attending. The event was covered by three TV channels from Knoxville with each reporting on the event the same event and the next day. Lynn Wright of the Luminary United Methodist Church also made a video of the event and posted it on the LUMC YouTube channel. The video of the ceremony can be found at the following link: . Another video entitled “Project Virgil Beginning to End” is also on the LUMC YouTube Channel. Both are under the “Events” section of the Channel.

July 12, 2022

More great community involvement. Midway Highschool students involved in FFA (Future Farmers of America and their teacher, Whitney Moore and her daughter, arrived at the site to assist in adding some beauty to the site in preparation for the house completion celebration to be held on Wednesday, July 20, 2022.

July 10, 2022 – Celebration announcement

The official Completion Celebration Party will be held on Wednesday July 20. There will be a short ceremony at the house at 11:00 a.m., followed by an opportunity to tour the house. Because there will be NO PARKING AVAILABLE at Virgil’s home, you are invited to come to the Luminary United Methodist Church between 10 and 10:30 a.m. where there will be buses and vans available to transport people to the site. The church is located at 3401 River Road, Ten Mile, TN. Following the ceremony the buses and vans will transport attendees back to the church where a delicious lunch will be served in the Fellowship Hall. Thanks to a generous donor, the lunch will be catered by Uncle Gus’ BBQ! BBQ chicken and pork will be serve along with all the fixin’s and yummy desserts. The Fellowship Hall will also have displays about the project, and about Virgil. Videos documenting the various stages of the project will be running. If all goes to plan, immediately following the ceremony, the videographer will return to the church and replay the home unveiling ceremony on a TV in the Fellowship Hall during the luncheon. A link to this video will also be posted on this website.

July 8, 2022

Hello all, Great news!! We have our final inspection and occupancy permit in hand! We passed with flying colors! I was at the house tonight and the door bell went off and it was Virgil coming to visit. He is so excited, he just can’t believe that his church and community is doing this for him! The first thing he did was go watch the water come out of the kitchen faucet (it’s the little things that we take for granted). Then he was taken back by the fridge…….anyway a good visit, to say that he’s appreciative and thankful is an under statement. Thanks again for everyone’s help and support through out the journey, it’s definitely been a Lord thing, Rick

June 25, 2022

Getting closer and closer to completion! The two latest photos show the front door painted and running water in the kitchen. Thanks be to God and to many who are pushing the project to completion, Rick.

June 18, 2022

Thanks to the work of many volunteers from Luminary United Methodist Church and the community, much was accomplished in 2 weeks. By June 14, the septic tanks had been installed and they were officially approved the next day. Also the countertops had been added to the kitchen cabinets, all the inside painting trim work was completed, the porch siding was added and porch posts and corbels were installed. The “A” Painters from Oak Ridge volunteered time (on a very hot day) and materials on Saturday June 18 to complete the painting of the front side of the house, porch roof and trim and porch posts. Rick Matthews supplied lunch while the painters took a short break. It almost looks finished!!!

June 3, 2022

Finishing work is proceeding rapidly thanks to a lot of hard work by John Drake, Wade Rucker and others. The Faux stone was added to the front of the house and doors were hung inside the house. Also an exciting development was that Whitney Moore, a teacher at Midway High School that teaches agricultural classes, has volunteered to be involved in landscaping around the Project Virgil home. It is anticipated that she will be able to get many of her students involved.

May 28, 2022

Much progress has been made over the past month. As of May 7, the drywall had been completed and much of the siding had been install. Virgil visited the house to view the progress. Shortly thereafter, the walls were painted and flooring began. During the last week of May, all of the flooring was completed; the kitchen cabinets and bathroom vanity were installed; the window trim was completed.

May 3, 2022

As of Monday May 2, the following update was provided. Hello all!!, Insulation and Hvac  inspection passed this morning!! Much thanks to John D., Wade R. and Bob V. for their participation in the insulation installation partee!! They did a wonderful job and stayed with it till it was done. We have contacted Billy Richardson and he is to call back soon with a scheduled time to begin hanging the drywall. Thanks to all for all you’ve done, no matter big or small, it takes us all, Rick. On May 3, work started on putting siding on the house and installing the drywall.

April 26, 2022

Insulation of the walls completed. Trim work was ongoing.

April 15, 2022

The Project Virgil house was finally secure with doors and windows installed as of April 12. The framing and plumbing inspection was done on April 14. The framing inspection passed with flying colors. The plumbing inspection had a couple of small issues that will be corrected shortly. Steve Edgemon our electrician has been working hard on the wiring and expects to be wrapped up and ready for that inspection next Tuesday or Thursday next week. Brother John Drake has been busy installing door hardware and bracing walls for the kitchen cabinets. The Rockwood High School HVAC class was at the site on Monday April 11, and began to install the heat pump system. Brian Thompson the instructor also arranged for a full donation of heat pump and materials, about a $2000 donation. We had Bob VanNorman, Marc Malone, Bruce Marshall, Wade Rucker acting as supervisors for the extra high school students that helped us clean up the site; special thanks to them. Sharon Conway and family prepared and served another great lunch for the group as always. Lynn Wright posted the video below on the web site about the progress and the visit from the High school students. We appreciate all the prayers and contributions to this project, no matter how large or small. Rick.

April 12, 2022

Rockwood High School students learn skills and assist with Project Virgil home completion

April 3, 2022

Hello !!, another good week with progress! The roof is on and complete. Patrick Woods Roofing out of Harriman arranged us to buy materials at cost and they donated the labor for installation. The metal roof color is called “Copper Penny”, that’s what it looks like, a new copper penny. You can see it shine through the trees. This week doors are to arrive, and the one missing window. Ayers Framing is making a return trip to hang the doors and to adjust a couple of issues that came up after they left last week. Phillip Bredwell our plumber should complete most of the plumbing this week and Steve Edgemon our electrician will be able to work on the wiring once we get the house secure with the doors. As soon as these things are complete we will apply for the Framing inspection. I visited with Brian Thompson which is doing our HVAC and he is planning on being out to start his part soon. If you haven’t been over to the site, go look, it will make you proud. Let me know of any ideas, things I’ve maybe overlooked or any comments or suggestions you have. Remember its a “Lord thing”, its the only explanation for all that’s happened so far, and all the overwhelming generosity shown through donations of money, labor, materials, time and efforts. I appreciate all the support from all those involved, it takes all of us. Thanks, Rick.

4 minute video of March 17 & 18 2022 HOUSE FRAMING

March 18, 2022

The Ayers & Roberts Framing Company persevered through rain and thunder to get the home in the dry before the end of the day. It was fascinating to watch the this team work together over the two days.

March 17, 2022

LOOKEEE HERE !!! (I said that in a long drawn out southern accent) real progress today, the crew started at 8:30 this morning and the picture is at 5:00!! If that wasn’t good enough, Virgil came by on his way back from the hospital for a look!! The photo is Jeff Ayers, from Ayers & Roberts Framing Co, and Terry Arvin, manager of Tindell’s Lumber. It was worth a ton for Virgil to come by and meet those working so hard on his behave. Much thanks for Sharon Conway, Sherri Burnette for providing breakfast and lunch for the crew. Also thanks to Lynn Wright who stayed most all day recording the days events. Thanks, Rick

March 1, 2022

Hallelujah the Lord was willing and the creek quit rising…..Howard Horne and his crew poured the concrete foundation, the back porch and the Pastors front porch today!! It looks really good and a job well done. Anyone needing concrete work done we can highly recommend Howard and crew. Go by when you have a chance and take a look. We are now coordinating with our framing contractor to schedule the next step. We will schedule a group meeting next week. We will discuss future planning and hopefully get a report on the progress being made on our VA contacts. Thanks for all you are doing no matter how large or small, its all appreciated. 

Thanks, Rick

February 22, 2022 Update

Finally, a break from the weather, material shortages and scheduling issues. It’s all good! This past week we were able to receive the blocks we needed, and a break from the rain, which allowed us to lay the foundation blocks on top of our previously poured footers. This progress will allow for our contractor to do the rough-in plumbing. Following the inspection, and approval of the plumbing we will prepare for and then pour the concrete pad and porches. We are excited about receiving materials for future use, we have the refrigerator, stove, kitchen cabinets, windows and siding materials on hand and ready for installation. Stay tuned for exciting progress that we will surely achieve this next month. Special thanks goes out to our contractors that have donated so much of their time and labor (and been very patient with me). When this project is complete we will post a listing of our recommended and trusted contractors and material providers that we can call on for our own projects in the future.

Again, thanks to all involved in this Love in Action project, whether it’s a donation, a prayer or just an encouraging word, it’s all appreciated.

January 15, 2022 Update

Hallelujah and praise the Lord!!!  Finally made some headway. We were able to break ground on January 14 and dig foundation footers. We received inspection and permit on said footers on January 15 and poured concrete at 11:00 am!!! Much thanks goes out to brother Howard Horne, who managed to achieve all this and then……talked the Twin K Concrete Company into donating their time, driver, truck and $1600 of concrete!!  Howard can be very persuasive.  It’s just amazing, how this is all happening. its a Lord thing!!.  Next week when it dries up sufficiently, Howard will lay two rows of block and our licensed plumber, Phillip Bredwell, will begin the rough-in plumbing. We are going to clear more ground tomorrow on the other side of the driveway to the property line to make the area look a little better.

December 9, 2021 Update

The excitement of getting the original building bulldozed and the site partially cleared, has been replaced by slow but persistent efforts by the project leaders to obtain permits and line up materials and labor for the next phases.  We now have a septic and building permit, the site staked and a temporary power pole in place.  Power and water will soon be provided, and a plumber has offered to donate her time.  Framing lumber has been ordered and will be provided at cost. Footers will be dug next week.

This project has been extremely blessed by the donations of cash, materials, and labor from many sources.  It is very possible that not all the cash received will be needed for building, furnishing, and landscaping of the home. Once the building and landscaping is competed, any leftover funds will be placed in a trust fund specifically for Virgil to take care of most costs of upkeep and maintenance of his new home.

Virgil was moved to a temporarily available home owned by a church member and this home has been decorated by ladies from the Luminary United Methodist Church.

November 14, 2021 Update

Hello all !!, We had a couple of very productive days on the Project Virgil effort on November 10 and 11th. The Howard Horne Construction Company began the demolition of the existing building on Wednesday morning November 10 and continued to work tirelessly through Thursday afternoon. At that point the site was clear and ready for the next steps. People were driving by and honking and showing their support and appreciation.  Once the new home site is staked out for the septic permit, then we can apply for the building permit. Brother Bill Hughes’s interview on WVLT  has  stirred up a lot of folks wanting to partner with us on the project both locally and from across the U.S. This week, we received donations from local individuals for sheer, insulation, windows and doors, roof trusses, $300.00 of gravel for the driveway, mini-blinds and window treatments. The Sweetwater Baptist Church took up a special offering for Virgil and came to directly present him with a check for $1500. People outside the area who are also moved by the project have been calling team members to ask how they can participate. All offers are greatly appreciated and efforts will be made to keep all interested parties informed of needs as long as they provide their names and phone numbers (Call church office at 865-466-4705). As we stated before, all funds donated to project Virgil will be used either for the home itself or for Virgil’s future needs. All who are contributing in any way are helping to make this happen. We believe this is a Lord thing!!

“Love in Action is a group of folks who sincerely believe love is a verb. Project Virgil is our inaugural endeavor to prove just that. We enjoy many freedoms because of the sacrifices of men like Virgil. Our goal is to tear down that shack and build Virgil a tiny house and give him the dignity he deserves. We need $60,000 to make it happen, and we’re asking for your help. Our goal is to accomplish this before cold weather sets in this year” See the GoFundMe website or call the Luminary United Methodist Church office 865-466-4705 for more details and how to donate.

November 4, 2021 Update from Rick Matthews

We want to thank everyone who has donated to Project Virgil!! We have seen great success with our fundraising efforts and are happy to report that we have sufficient funds to begin this project. We have received additional donations of goods and services for which we are also grateful! Please be assured that every penny that is donated to Project Virgil will be used for construction of his new home and Virgil’s future necessities. Project updates will be available on Go Fund Me as well as our church website which is and our Luminary United Methodist Church Facebook page.

Once again, Thank You, and God bless you!!

October 25, 2021 Update from Rick Matthews

Hello All, great things are happening with our project, much needed funds are rolling in nicely after Brother Bill’s TV campaign. This was all Bill, he arranged the interviews and set off our Go Fund Me efforts. The funds as of now are $15,240 from Go Fund Me and we have approximately $10,000 from direct donation at the church. We are receiving many donations of time and materials each day. Today we received a donation of flooring materials from a carpet and flooring company in the area. We are starting to even get duplicates of donated services that will be needed in the project. We are still waiting for the the elusive land survey, but have been promised again for first thing Wednesday. Nadine and Bobby Jackson are finishing up prep work on Virgil’s temporary home. There will be a e-mail coming out from the church tomorrow asking for help doing the final cleaning in the home this Wednesday and Thursday. The plan is to move Virgil this Friday!! They will need our help and support. Virgil is terribly excited about this move, he says “people will want to come see me now”.

How to donate

The most direct way to support this project is to write a check to Luminary United Methodist Church and put “Project Virgil” in the “for” line. Address is 3401 River Road, Ten Mile, TN 37880. Church members, consider giving to Project Virgil only after giving your normal tithes and offerings to the general budget of the church. We must keep our staff paid and our facilities working in order to continue to meet our mission of “drawing people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ”.