The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX


March 11, 2014

Providing a helping hand

QUINLAN — A mailbox decorated with Wisconsin license plates reading “Feases” makes it pretty clear who owns the quaint little one-story house on Kathy Lynn Place in Quinlan. The neat, horizontal row of University of Wisconsin-Madison and Milwaukee Brewers logos showcase the hometown pride of John Fease, the man whose handiwork has been helping to remodel the small community one house at a time out of his own pocketbook.

The plan to help rebuild Quinlan did not form from a spontaneous decision of John and his wife Barbara. The former pulpit minister already had plenty of experience doing carpentry work for his church in Kenosha, Wis.

When they decided to move to Texas to be closer to their grandchildren, the couple simply brought their carpentry missionary work with them.

“I’m much better as a pastor working in people’s homes,” John said.

Since arriving in Quinlan three years ago, John and Barbara have remodeled at least a dozen houses in the community, with the majority of their supplies being funded from their own savings. John said he has spent at least $100,000 of his own money since moving to Quinlan and starting his missionary work.

But homes were not the only priority for John. After driving through the center of town and seeing weeds growing out of the cracks in the sidewalks and up along the buildings, he decided the time had come to clean up the city’s image.

On a Saturday morning, John went to work with a weed eater, a blower and a couple of garbage cans, cutting the grass and the weeds.

“No one said anything because I think they had thought the city had hired a guy to clean it all up,” John said.

Two weeks later, John made a deal with some store owners downtown that if they helped him buy Round-Up, he would keep the sidewalks weed-free. John extended his voluntary mowing services to other parts around town, and eventually his willingness and passion for giving the city a cleaner image helped others want to become more involved in his work.

John has also been using his carpentry skills to rebuild and remodel homes throughout the community, using the money the inheritance from his mom’s passing to fund the supplies he used when he first started remodeling.

Of course, he said that knowing where to get started on a project can be very tricky.

“I’ve walked into places and I’ve thought, let’s just get rid of it,” he said. “But since I can’t really do that for the sake of the homeowner, let’s make it the best we can.”

John has worked in homes requiring all manner of repairs, including a house with a leaky roof and a house with only dirt for flooring. In addition to the routine carpentry work, John said he also provides electrical and plumbing services, skills he picked up working as the go-to carpenter for a wildlife resort he owned in Wisconsin.

“If a building was going to be remodeled, I was the one who was going to do it,” he said.

The Feases’ voluntary work in the Quinlan community caught the eye of another group hoping to make a positive impact on the county. The National Honor Society of Ford High School approached John and Barbara and offered to help them with their projects.

The National Honor Society will join John and Barbara to help a local woman who cannot afford to clear the rubble out of the yard of her recently burned-down home. Clearing the rubble will help the woman get home insurance for the newly-remodeled two-story home she currently lives in, keeping in line with the pay-it-forward theme of the Feases’ missionary work.

John said he hopes to continue his work until he is physically unable to do it.

“My hope is that I tip over fixing someone’s house,” he joked.

“I don’t hope that,” John’s 13-year-old granddaughter, Ingrid, who volunteers alongside her grandparents, said.

John said that if he could summarize the importance of his work in Quinlan into a sermon, the main message would be that helping others would in turn bring more blessings into one’s life, and bring more peace and joy into the world.

“Jesus really meant that if our hearts would break for other people, if we are seekers of peace, if we really love our neighbors, we will be blessed,” he said.

Text Only
  • Beekeepers.jpg Using combs for their curly hair

    Two little 7-year-old Hunt County twins are the sweetest girls around, and they have the honey to prove it.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Children’s Hope coming to county

    Emma Casselton worked for the state of Texas as a foster adoption specialist for 16 years, facilitating more than 1,000 adoptions of local children.

    July 11, 2014

  • IMG_0178.jpg Pastor reflects on 30 years serving Commerce church

    A congregation tends to reflect the views of its pastor.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Father's_Day_1.jpg A short history of Father's Day

    There are more than 70 million fathers in the United States today. 

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7 Sunday Follies_Brunch_story.jpg Establishing the heart of Hunt County

    Every two years, the Greenville Follies holds a huge stage production to help raise funds for a local community nonprofit.

    June 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Preston_Tarrant.jpg Parents hope Greenville can help give Preston a lift

    Before the parents of 11-year-old Preston Tarrant received the news that their son had a form of muscular dystrophy, they weren’t even aware that any such disease existed.

    May 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • CM_Angela_Franklin_2-1.jpg Making a career out of volunteerism

    Angela Franklin is a wife, a mother and a grandmother, but she could also be considered a cheerleader for volunteerism in the Greenville area.

    May 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Birthing_Center_sign.jpg At local birthing center, it is Mother’s Day every day

    The structure sits in the middle of a quiet residential neighborhood not far from downtown Greenville.
    If not for the sign in front advertising the home as “The Baby Place Birthing Center”, anyone passing by would likely have no idea that it is a facility where mothers come to deliver their children.

    May 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pastor_Ratliff_feature.1.jpg A promise fulfilled

    A little more than 30 years ago, as he was crossing the bridge over Lake Ray Hubbard, Senior Pastor Roger Ratliff of Vansickle Baptist Church received a calling from God, reminding him to fulfill a promise he had made years earlier to join the ministry.

    April 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott_Stegall.jpg Army veteran opens medical facility in Cooper

    When Physician Assistant Scott Stegall first relocated to the Cooper Community Health Center from his practice in Commerce, he knew setting up a family medical clinic in the small, rural community with limited resources would present a challenge.

    April 25, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads

Does Dallas head coach Jason Garrett need for the Cowboys to make the playoffs during the 2014 football season to keep his job?

Who knows with Jerry Jones as owner?
     View Results
Must Read

See more photos and purchase prints here.

AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide