Church and volunteers working to clear land, build house for Jefferson County couple in need


TALBOTT (WATE) – Progress is being made in helping a down-and-out couple in Talbott to get back on their feet. Assistance has come from a local church, businesses and volunteers.

When we first met Jake and Evelyn McKinney in June, they had no shelter or even a toilet. The couple hit hard times a few years ago when their health started failing.

Previous story: Less fortunate Jefferson County couple needs help

Jake owns three acres of property in Talbott, but it was filled with trash and junk when we first met them. It’s not the way they want to live.

A concerned neighbor told us about their plight. Since our first report, a benevolent church has answered the call to help.

Previous story: Church helps less fortunate Jefferson County couple in need

The other day, Pastor Glen Dockins told Jake there’s still some leveling off to do on his property that’s been cleared of debris so far. Some trash left behind needs to remove, but says the ground is too wet right now.


Pastor Dockins and church members from Captive Free Ministries have been busy this month. Dockins’ daughter Ashtyn Smith said she had been touched in early July by the McKinneys’ situation and pledged her church would assist them.

A port-a-john has been donated to the couple; they had no toilet before. A family lent their camper so the couple can have dry shelter.

Their property had once been filled with old vehicles and junk Jake had collected. It’s been cleared away.

“There is quite a bit more work to be done. We have got a lot already done. So all help in every way is appreciated and needed,” said Dockins.

When Jake showed his overgrown property in June, he said his failing health and Evelyn’s sickness prevented them keeping the place up and being unable to help themselves. They said they would be willing to accept help.


Today, the lower part of Jake’s property has been swept clear of debris. While more cleanup is needed, progress is being made.

“We have sold about five vehicles that he had, did well with them. We sold two containers, 40-yard containers of metal. We sold that for him. So it has been real productive for him,” said Dockins. “[The money] is strictly theirs. We are not asking for any money for what we have done. We feel like this is what we are supposed to be doing.”

On the higher and dryer part of his property, volunteers will soon build a small house where the county has given approval for a septic tank.

“He said that we can build the house right here, that gives it room for a septic system. Now we have an area where we can build it. We expect building to start in the next week or two,” said Smith.

“We have a gentleman, a contractor within our church, his name is Roy Johnson. He’ll be the one taking care of that,” said Dockins.

The McKinneys say they’ll be glad when the house is built.

“With the help of everybody stepping in, we’re going to get it done,” said the pastor.


“They’re doing a real good job and I love them for it. I love them all for helping,” said Jake.

Captive Free Ministries says the home planned for the McKinneys will be a simple one, not elaborate. Members of their church and others have volunteered to help in its construction.

The biggest need right now is money that would be used to fund the construction of the home.

Anyone interested in donating to the church’s effort can do so by visiting their website:

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