Maxwell Airmen use common interest to help others

Staff Sgt. Jody Perkins, Air Force Center for Electronic Distribution and Systems developer, right, and Tech Sgt. Jonathan Kirby, AFCED noncommissioned officer in charge, nail wood paneling onto the walls of a bedroom in the battered and homeless women and children shelter Sept. 4, 2015 in Shorter, Ala. Hand’s Off Women is a nonprofit organization that is aimed at promoting and protecting women’s and children’s human and civil rights, while eliminating violence against women. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexa Culbert)

Staff Sgt. Jody Perkins, Air Force Center for Electronic Distribution and Systems developer, right, and Tech Sgt. Jonathan Kirby, AFCED noncommissioned officer in charge, nail wood paneling onto the walls of a bedroom in the battered and homeless women and children shelter Sept. 4, 2015 in Shorter, Ala. Hand’s Off Women is a nonprofit organization that is aimed at promoting and protecting women’s and children’s human and civil rights, while eliminating violence against women. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Alexa Culbert)

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- The winding roads led further and further into the country, where the dense forest lines the road like a tunnel. Suddenly the smooth pavement turned into a narrow and rough dirt road. Finally a clearing appears and reveals a small house hidden quietly away behind miles of trees. The faded brown paint and overgrown grass suggests the house is old and worn, but the dull exterior only hides the beauty of what is going on inside.

Looking inside tools are scattered among unfinished rooms, but the walls are already splashed with bright electric colors and covered in inspirational words and quotes. The house is still a work in progress but its future and potential are evident. The owners of the house are Andrea McDade and her husband Reggie.  Andrea is the director forHands off Women, and it is her dream to see the house used as a homeless and battered women and children shelter.

The silence is cut off by the deafening sounds of drills and the pounding of hammers from one of the back rooms, inside are two Maxwell Airmen who are working hard to make that dream a reality.Tech Sgt. Jonathan Kirby, Air Force Center for Electronic Distribution and Systems noncommissioned officer in charge, and Staff Sgt. Jody Perkins, AFCEDS developer, use their construction skills to get the shelter up and running.

Perkins and Kirby's common interest came from being raised in rural areas of the country;  Perkins hailing from Louisiana and Kirby from Nebraska. They relied on themselves to do most of the manual labor growing up.

"I guess you can say we got really good at doing our own stuff," said Perkins.

However, overtime it became an enjoyable hobby for them and they jumped at the chance to use it to help others.

"This couple's heart is really in it and they're really want to help people in need. If we can just help them out a little bit then that's great," said Kirby.

With Perkins specializing in carpentry and Kirby in electrical and plumbing the two have proven to make quite a team at accomplishing the mission.

"They have a big heart for helping, they saw what needed to be done...they brought their own tools and just did everything they could to make this a reality," said McDade. "They are very hardworking people that didn't have to do it, but they stepped up to the plate and did what needed to be done."

McDade is still requesting volunteers to complete the shelter for more information contact her at 334-777-8831.