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Mercy Mall's fixers spread smiles by restoring the broken to working order

"These guys are amazing. They have huge hearts."
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Posted at 12:08 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 18:28:30-04

CHESTERFIELD, Va. -- It’s a routine repeated every week. At Mercy Mall in Chesterfield, Thursdays hum like the North Pole right before Christmas.

Volunteers like Santa's elves shuttle box after box filled with goods that help families in crisis from homelessness to domestic abuse.

The non-profit accepts donated items from Walmart through Good 360.

“These are things that we take for granted," said volunteer Bill McCormick

But not every item is in working order. And that is where the Bill and his brother Mike McCormick step up.

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In Bill McCormick’s so-called man cave in Powhatan saws remain silent.

"This is set up for woodworking. But when I retired, I guess God had another plan," said Bill.

Bill, brother Mike and neighbor Sonny Anderson whittle their time fixing bikes, fans and appliances missing parts.

“I would say 98% of it is brand new," said Bill.

Some are beyond salvation.

“I’m of the old school. It is un-American to throw anything away. If you can fix it. I’m going to fix it," said Bill.

The retirees say with a little elbow grease and know-how items destined for the dump are restored to working order and returned to Mercy Mall.

“We have put out well over 100 bikes this year," said Bill.

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“Oh, it makes me feel good. Knowing that someone is going to get something out of it," said Mike McCormick.

Eventually the goods will be picked up by an adult or child in desperate need.

“Something like this keeps you down to earth. It keeps you level," said Sonny.

For Bill, the effort can be a struggle. He lives with an auto immune disease that ravages his muscles and strength.

“Until God tells me to do something else that is what I’m going to do. We’re going to be here," said Bill. “Till I die.”

With so much work he doesn’t want to let anyone down.

"When you fix something there is a joy to see someone happy because you did it," said Bill.

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“I hope the Lord keeps them on this earth a long time because I don’t know what we would do without them," said Mercy Mall's Executive Director Stacey Jones. “They think what we do is a small part of what we do. But actually, what they’re doing is something that not anyone else can do.”

Like Santa's workshop, at Bill's former woodworking shop, the checklist never ends.

“Everything we do is hoping for the best."

They are handymen proving tools that can heal more than just a broken bike.

“There will always going to be people that need help and we’re there. Mercy Mall will be there," said Bill.

Greg McQuade features local heroes in a weekly “Heroes Among Us” segment. Watch Greg’s reports Thursdays on CBS News at 6 or here on WTVR.com. If you would like to nominate someone to be featured on “Heroes Among Us,” click here to email heroes@wtvr.com.

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