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People of Ninety Six bands together to build cottage for homeless legend

Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 10:19am

Ninety Six (WHNS) -- A small Upstate community is making a big difference in the life of one man in need after a Facebook group grew almost as big as their town's population.

The page is called "A home for Rock Man," and with more than 1,300 likes and a year of work, their goal is almost complete. Organizers said they're just a week away from finishing a small cottage that Rock Man, a local homeless man, can move into.

It all started when a few people in Ninety Six wanted to help their community but in a way that goes beyond just feeding or giving money to the homeless. They wanted to actually help a man in a way that could change his life. They said they just never knew that could happen even before the home was finished.

Rock Man is the man who's been seen throughout out Ninety Six for decades, and up until recently, he wasn't always popular.

"When I was a little girl, I was kind of scared of him because he was a loner," said Lynn Sargent, co-organizer of the project .

But under the "Rock Man" exterior has always existed a man named Ben.

"From the time that I have met him, we always had conversations about various things; he's been a good friend to me," said co-organizer Quinn Griffin.

People like Griffin and Sargent didn't ignore Ben; instead, they took the chance to get to know him.

"Ben's my friend, my buddy and we love him," said Sargent.

Through those relationships, they felt the need to help out and give him a fair chance at life. That started the "A Home for Rock Man" project.

Taking the cause to Facebook grew numbers, and after a year of red tape and hard work came a small home built on property owned by Ben's family. The group says it's not a handout.

"It will be long-lasting. We are going to stay on him, and we're going to make sure he keeps it up," said Griffin.

Before the home is even finished, they say they've already seen big changes in Rock Man in the past year.

"It's built his self-esteem. He's encouraged by others to do more," said Sargent.

They're hoping the success of this project opens the doors for many others. The group says that Ben will be responsible for paying some of the rent for the home and its upkeep.

They are still taking donations and household items for the home to get him started.


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