EULESS -- "I didn’t expect all these people to show up," Thomas Shepherd laughed, looking around his front yard Saturday. "I told Anna it was kinda like an invasion, an invasion of angels."
Shepherd doesn't believe in aging. He said his birth certificate claims he's 81, but he doesn't like to share that information to often. In fact, after saying it he quickly pointed out that he still plays basketball with his grandkids.
"Sometimes people wanna treat you in a different way. You’re too old to do this, or you’re too old to do that," he pointed out.
So when his yard work and upkeep got to be a bit too much the last couple years, don't think it's because he couldn't do the work anymore.
"I’ve done a lot of work as long as I can. I don’t mind cutting the lawn, doing the trimming and this sort of thing," he said.
The problem is that the pastor and Army Security Agency veteran has been needed elsewhere, particularly by his wife of nearly 59 years, Anna.
"We’ve been going down to MD Anderson in Houston," Shepherd said. "Matter of fact, we’ve been there 22 times this year already."
Let that number soak in. 22 trips to and from Houston just to go to the hospital. Mrs. Shepherd's fighting cancer for the second time, though you wouldn't know it by looking at her. Her hair is thick and flowing, all grown back after her first bout with chemotherapy, and her smile is quick.
Mission group 6 Stones, along with Lockheed Martin, heard their story and flew into action.
"Any time you have the chance to give back to the community, to improve the life of veterans, as well as to remember the customers we work for, that’s always very humbling for us," said Bob Saxer, Lockheed Martin's Vice President for Emerging Programs.
So a group of about 25 volunteers spent the day painting, pouring, cutting, and pounding, and this was just one of ten houses they're taking care of as part of their yearly partnership with 6 Stones.
The Shepherds, though, felt like much more than just one of ten.
"Unbelievable how many blessings I have received in my lifetime, so this is an extension of God’s blessings to me," Thomas Shepherd said.