Volunteers poured in from the ranks of people who knew the Kings through Christ Church United Methodist, tennis and WVU tailgating parties. Colleagues joined in. She is a nurse anesthetist at Cabell Huntington Hospital, and he is an architect with the Higher Education Policy Commission.
Neither Hannah nor Clark was surprised at the enthusiastic response.
"To me, it's a testament to the type of people Jim and Kathy are," Hannah said.
In addition to friends who provided labor, George Washington High School instructor Col. Monty Warner brought several JROTC students to lend a hand. The students toiled in cold, rainy weather to break up the sidewalk and cut down existing trees and undergrowth. Clark, who previously taught English at GW, recruited Warner's assistance for the project.
The students and volunteers tossed discarded materials into a bin loaned to the site by a friend who owns a waste management company.
In all, about 40 people worked on the project. Hannah, Loflin and Clark said they enjoyed the project so much, many people told them they didn't want it to end.
"Everyone was smiling and laughing. It brought people together who had no other common thread," said Loflin. Hannah added that she had the chance to meet Kathy's friends she'd never met, but often heard her friend speak about.
Freely given labor and donated materials, equipment and services brought the cost of the renovation to about a fifth of its actual value, Loflin said.
Hannah offered some bricks leftover from an addition to her home for the project, and Loflin worked them into seating areas along the circular courtyard. Gardening friends added another personal touch.
"Some people divided plants from their own yards. This is really a garden of love," Hannah said.
Star magnolia, dwarf nectarine and espaliered crabapple trees join low-care perennials and planters of brightly colored annuals to rim the patio's peaceful seating area. Potted herbs are within easy reach to clip for culinary use. The area is softly lighted for evening relaxation.
"The patio is my favorite part of the project," Kathy said. The Kings also enjoy sitting on their front porch. Their former neighbor Jane Hammett sorted through her extensive collection of fabrics and picked colorful fabrics she used to re-cover the cushions.
Newly planted and mulched beds hug the house's foundation, while a stand-alone vegetable and fruit garden stands in the back yard, already planted with blueberry bushes and a peach tree. This garden will provide physical sustenance to bolster the sensory pleasure offered in the front yard.
"I think all of us hope that Kathy finds comfort, joy and relaxation as she undergoes further treatment," Clark said. "Kathy is so giving and kind. I think this says that there are many more good people than bad in the world when they come together for something like this."
Reach Julie Robinson at email@example.com or 304-348-1230.