Volunteers work to put on a new roof for James Henley and his extended family.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Hammers pound out a steady rhythm despite the cold in Maryville, Tennessee.
"It's pretty chilly for me. I'm used to it, but I know they're cold and it's fantastic that they're bearing this weather to do this it's just fantastic," says Vietnam veteran James Henley.
A crew of volunteers is fixing a leaky roof that's caused Henley problems for years.
"We've had to do a lot of remodeling on the inside we've had a lot of damage with the roof leaking and the mold so we've taken down sheet rock and replaced it," Henley says.
Volunteers from the Home Depot, Concord United Methodist Church and Maryville College all came together to make a difference.
"Non-profit, it means helping people in need. That's really the simplest version of it, for people that love to help people this is such a great field to go into," says Maryville College Volunteer Gabriel Johnson.
It's a simple act of kindness that hit home for Henley.
"If you look around there stands your heroes these kids are fantastic they are great and it's nice to see them come out and help a Vietnam vet," he says.
"It's just a great feeling to actually do something hands on rather than just giving somebody a hand out," says Gabriel Johnson.
It's time spent on a project that will be standing for years to come.
"This is a home for my family and my grandkids -- it's to give them security to know that when they get older they have a home to come to," says Henley.
This was also classwork for volunteers from Maryville College who are studying for a degree in non-profit organizations.
Operation backyard has helped thousands of homeowners in Knoxville repair their homes for the past 16 years.