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Spared from a fine and a court date for code violations, a Northeast Garland homeowner called from his hospital bed on Saturday, Aug. 10, to thank those who had come to his property’s rescue.
“I can feel your heart, what you’re doing for me,” he said.
It’s the kind of love the Code Cares program has been spreading for years.
Code Cares is the City of Garland Code Compliance Department’s volunteer program that started in 2005 and has grown to serve hundreds of residents. Garland’s program has been recognized by Keep Texas Beautiful, the Texas Municipal League and state and local elected officials.
While code inspectors want to reach out and further serve those in need, not everyone qualifies for upgrades and volunteer help.
In her years as a municipal court assistant, Fredda Doan has heard plenty of excuses about why someone can’t make their court date or pay their fine. But when she received letters detailing stage 4 cancer from the homeowner and his doctor shortly before the man’s Aug. 1 court date, she decided to follow up.
“I could tell he was legitimately in the hospital,” Doan said. “I am not a person that jumps on just any ‘needy’ defendants that I speak with, but there was something about this case.”
She turned to Deputy Marshal Steve Frazier, who organized the 14 volunteers who gave up most of their weekend to rebuild the couple’s back fence and gate and trim the tree in the front yard.
Garland jail employee Colby Campbell and Marshals Jerry Norris and Jason Shanks were among the volunteers.
“You’re an inspiration to us,” Frazier told the homeowner over the phone. “It’s an honor for us to do it.”
As with all Code Cares projects, enforcement actions on the Northeast Garland property were halted once volunteers connected with the City stepped in.
While the Northeast Garland homeowners were connected to volunteer help through the municipal court, most Code Cares recipients are referred by Code Department inspectors. Needs vary from house painting and fence repair to lawn mowing and tree trimming.
Scouts, church groups and other volunteers work through Code Cares to donate their time and resources. Code Compliance Manager Os Rodriguez said volunteers are needed and can pick the project they want. He can be reached at ORodrigu@GarlandTX.gov or 972-485-6420.