COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Fire destroyed his home nearly two years ago, and now a Columbus man is one step closer to having a new home.
Paul Jones Sr., 75, watched as his home of more than 40 years was torn down to make way for a brand new house.
"It is a real wonderful program," Jones said. "I had no dreams of anything like this."
Jones is the 2013 recipient of the NeighborWorks Columbus Cottage Campaign. It is a program that provides a new home every year for an elderly person in our community who has an unsafe home and cannot afford to repair it.
The Columbus home off Dogwood Avenue was where Jones and his wife raised six kids and was damaged in a Christmas Eve fire nearly two years ago.
"For everything to just go up in smoke, that is real hard to explain and I really get very emotional about it sometimes," said Jones.
CEO and President of NeighborWorks Columbus Cathy Williams says Monday's demolition kick-off was only the beginning.
"We will take it all down. By the end of the week, there will be nothing here and we will start building a brand new cottage. It is a two bedroom, one bath, fully handicap accessible cottage. So, he can age in place and stay here the rest of his life," said Williams.
Jones' new home will be the campaign's fifth since 2009. Columbus Mayor Teresa Tomlinson says this program has the potential to change more than just the lives of the recipients and their families.
"When they make these types of investments in our neighborhoods, important neighborhoods of Columbus, Georgia and for our senior citizens, they are actually improving the entire Columbus, Georgia community, one family at a time," said Tomlinson.
Jones knows the first thing he will do when he gets the keys to his new home.
"I'm going to get on my knees and pray and thank God that I am back home again," said Jones.
Officials say they hope to have the new home complete by next spring.