For about nine months, Pender County zoning rules prohibited John McGinnis from living on his property in his travel trailer. That meant he lived in a tent. That is, until a Wilmington Star News reader saw his story and came to McGinnis’ aid, getting him a mobile home, appliances, etc.
“I call him my guardian angel,” McGinnis said, about the man who purchased the mobile home for him and had the steps built. “I was working at the Moose Lodge, and the secretary came out to me and said, ‘Somebody wants to talk to you.’ So I came out there, and he told me who he was. We shook hands, and he said his wife felt called to help me and that he was here to do it…”
McGinnis, a part-time janitor at the lodge, said he and the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, met a few times subsequently and began looking for mobile homes. A former employer, McGinnis said, told him about a mobile home that his benefactor eventually purchased.
It took an individual – not a government program - to solve McGinnis’ problem. In fact, it was county zoning rules that were at the heart of the problem.
Let this story be a reminder to us all about the importance of stepping up to help when others look away and when government rules impact a neighbor – or a stranger. Individuals can change lives. Government will never care for a person, or heal the wounds of a tough life the way one-on-one help can.
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