Issac Bailey

Street Reach lends hand to one of its own

Many along the Grand Strand continue to question whether it was appropriate for ABC-TV's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" to build a grandmother of four a large, new house in Longs.

Clients of Street Reach Missions in Myrtle Beach, a homeless shelter, are using the show as inspiration to give back to a volunteer who has spent 10 years giving hope to the downtrodden.

In about two weeks, "disciples" from Street Reach will make major repairs to the home of the Rev. Dan Cathey, who used to work as a clerk in the U.S. Court of Appeals, and who has shown up at Street Reach twice a week for the past decade to encourage those who need it most.

"It's our version of 'Extreme Makeover,'" said Street Reach Director Libby Faulkner. "This is an awesome opportunity for us to help somebody that needs it."

Over the past 10 years, Cathey has served as a Street Reach board member and now is a teacher in a drug and alcohol rehab course and a lay preacher.

During that time, he also taught Bible classes at Conway Adult Day Care and at Jordan Care Center. And his wife died of leukemia. And he has suffered from myasthenia gravis, a muscle disease that once required him to use a wheelchair and sometimes makes it difficult for him to lift his arms.

And the porch of the trailer in which he lives began to rot. It has little insulation and almost no underpinnings.

"We sat in there, and you can just feel the cold air coming in," said shelter member Kevin Davis.

Cathey helped Davis deal with a long-term addiction to alcohol and gave him the courage to re-enter the world with confidence even though Davis feared falling back into that hole.

"Just trying to return the favor," Davis said.

The men plan to build Cathey a new porch and maybe install more insulation, among other repairs. It may take two weekends to complete it all.

A Street Reach board member has donated $100 to defray the costs of the project, Faulkner said.

Many at Street Reach have specialized skills. Davis has a background as a commercial plumber; another is a licensed and insured contractor.

"They want to do this because he's always ready to help them in any way they he can," Faulkner said.

Note: This week is "Homelessness Awareness Week." An event to help those in need get services will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. Thursday at the Community Kitchen, 1411 Mr. Joe White Ave., Myrtle Beach.