Lexington SC (Devin Ruiz) - On May 7th, 2017, longtime Cayce resident, Willie Dean Anderson, celebrated her 105th birthday at the Department of Public Safety. The reason for such an unceremonious location for her birthday party was that on April 18th, just a few weeks before her birthday, her house caught fire, and the fire caused major damage to the home she had lived and raised her family in.
“Mama Dean” as she is known by her family and close friends, has resided in her Cayce home for almost four decades and has owned the home for almost six. The life of Willie Dean Anderson is so inspiring and encouraging, that listing all of her positive accomplishments would take hours. She has had such an impact on the community in her life, it would be like a list of who’s-who for good Samaritans who serve without ever thinking of themselves first.
Having adopted three kids and raising over 70 other children over the course of a decades, Mama Dean has given much of her life to helping others in need, regardless of the costs. Mama Dean worked as a foster parent for many years and in turn, touched the hearts of countless lives. She has also cared for sick family and friends, and always had a spot for them in her home if needed.
After so many years of extreme devotion to her family, friends, church, and her community, it only seemed appropriate that in the face of this tragic loss, it was time for the community to give back to Mama Dean. Captain Thomas Steinbring with the Department of Public Safety began working with Central South Carolina Habitat for Humanity to rebuild and restore the house to prime condition.
“Mama Dean” is a Christian housing ministry working to eliminate poverty through improved housing conditions in the Richland and Lexington areas. The mission of this organization is to serve the families in need who qualify for Habitat housing. Habitat has built many houses for people in need and now focuses on neighborhood revitalization; helping to renew neighborhoods to their former glory days. Now, with the help of Mama Dean’s family, friends, neighbors, and a few strangers too, they’ve turned their attention to the house of Willie Dean Anderson.
Over the next few weeks, The Lexington Ledger will be chronicling their the progress of the project. We will be sharing that progress with the rest of the community as each step of the work is completed.
As of this week construction has officially begun and there is a huge need for hands. Habitat works primarily through volunteer work and they have a system that will allow anyone who's interested in serving the community, an opportunity to get involved.
Captain Steinbring is providing a few firemen from the Department of Public Safety as he can, but the majority of the work that is being accomplished has been through the extended family of Mama Dean. The grandchildren of Willie Dean Anderson, Stephanie and Stanley, are leading the charge along with Habitat construction worker Chuck Applegate. Right now they are cleaning up debris, tearing out the old, damaged parts,and making way for the reconstruction team.
If anyone is interested in giving of their time, even if only for a day, it would be incredibly appreciated. You don’t have to be able to saw, drive nails, or wire an electrical socket. Habitat has a system they’ve used for years that makes the work incredibly easy to do and understand. Additionally, they need helpers who can cook a meal, pass out drinks, or just pray.
Joining them is simple. Just call (803)-252-3570 and listen for the volunteer opportunities prompt. You can also visit the website of South Carolina Habitat for Humanity at midlandshabitat.org to find out more information about helping to improve the community by taking time to serve.