A little over a week ago, a group of friends descended on Breaburn Farm at the behest of Karl Knight, farmer extraordinaire. He raises chickens, ducks and a market garden while taking care of cows and assisting with general farm operations for Braeburn Farm in Snow Camp, NC. Karl is a member of a newly created “Service League” made up of friends and community members who have banded together to help one another tackle projects together.

Each member will have the opportunity to call on members of the group to help with a personal project of their choice. On the property at Braeburn, there is a an old barn that was finally toppled over by a storm. Karl has been working on dismantling the barn and salvaging as much of the old barnwood as possible. He chose this as his personal project and got the honor of hosting the inaugural project for the new service league.


(L-R Nate Perry, Trey McDonald above, Michael, Cole Rhodes, Howard above, Aislinn Rhodes, “Doc” Sydnor, Greg Frasier, Jim McNulty, Karl Knight above, Tony Crider)

You might be wondering how this group of friends and community members came to be working together on a beautiful spring day. The seed for this group was planted last year when Nate was invited to attend the first meeting of the Saxapahaw Lions Club. While the Lions Club is a great organization and we are definitely supporters, Nate felt like their chosen project of pre-natal care and education was not his calling or the best use of the skills he has to offer. Afterward we had a heart to heart conversation about how we could best serve our community. Nate believed that there was a tremendous amount of good that could be done helping our friends and neighbors, using the handyman skills he has acquired.  All of this germinated a few months ago, when Nate began to have conversations with other men in the community who had both projects where they could use some helping hands and were were also interested in volunteering their time and skills to help others.

We are a group of 10 guys and each person gets a personal project to choose.  Karl’s choice happened to be tearing down the barn for “Doc” Sydnor, owner of Braebrun Farm. We were more than thrilled to come in and help given that it was an aid to Doc. He does a ton for the community and for each of us – which we are all grateful for.  Our initial members have plans for landscape work around their homes, outbuildings to demolish and/or renovate, houses to paint, etc. The farm demolition was our first time out together and was great opportunity for team building. As we get some momentum, we hope to take on a mix of personal and community work, and maybe even inspire other similar groups to form.  ~ Nate

We renovated our first home and are now mid process in renovating our second home. We know the tremendous value of having someone come and help with a project. As they say, “Many hands make light work”. But even more than that, a good friend can help you motivate to work on a challenging task and provide helpful insight into tricky projects, or keep you from getting bored during a tedious one. Sometimes having a friend simply show up and knowing you are not alone is greatest help you can receive. Nate and I feel that groups like this one, where friends and neighbors band together to help each other, are powerful engines for good in the community. We are working to bring help, hope, camaraderie, support and and sense of accomplishment for a job well done.

Cole dismantling the room of the fallen barn. If you know Cole, you will not be surprised to find him in high and sometimes precarious places.


Clean-up at ground level:


Karl checking and stacking a reclaimed board after removing the old nails:


Teamwork – Loading the trailer with reclaimed planks of barnwood: