Paul Curtis, local citizen of Liberty Hill, and seven others from First Baptist Church in Georgetown were given the opportunity to go to the Ukraine to help enlarge and renovate rooms for a Protestant seminary in the Capitol City of Kiev. Paul shared with Richard Wear what he was planning to do. Richard said he wanted to send something with Paul to leave ‘their mark’ in the remodeling process. In their talk Richard remembered a special hammer he had found hidden in an old house he had renovated back in 1986. What made the ‘found’ hammer so special, Richard’s uncle, Roy Wear from Burnet, had built the house in the 20’s, and left a hammer hidden in the house wall for some future builder to find. That would be the perfect ‘builders mark’ to leave in the renovation in the Ukraine.
Paul and his seven fellow workers flew to the Ukraine on a Saturday, rested on Sunday, then went to work on Monday. They awoke that morning to a 32-degree crisp, sun drenched day. Their first task was to dig a foundation trench 2 foot wide by 4 foot deep for an expansion addition. Can’t you see these eight, balding, desk jockeys with a little short handled pick and one rusty shovel surveying the task before them? But they got it done in two days. Sore muscles? What muscles? Two temporary shed rooms needed to be removed next. Paul asked for a hammer to pull roof nails. They brought him a ball-peen hammer. “No,” Paul said, “What I need is a CLAW-hammer.” They did not have such a tool. Then Paul remembered Richard’s hammer in his suitcase. He retrieved it, and completed the task. Paul shared with the local administration the odyssey of Richard Wear’s hammer, and his gift to the people of the Ukraine, as a token of love and respect. They were moved with the presentation and gift.
But Paul could see he needed more tools to finish the remodeling task than what the seminar had. He got a member of the seminar to drive him downtown to a hardware store where he bought hammers; shovels, crowbars and an electric saw to cut masonry.
Paul found the Ukrainians somber, but hard working people. Most were living in modest ‘flats’ with limited incomes. One helper was so eager to help he was always on the job, but sometimes in the way. His dress told Paul he was a poor man. The last day in Kiev Paul made him a gift of his Baylor University sweatshirt for “being the best worker” on the job. He is now the happiest Baylor Baptist Ukrainian in Kiev. One elderly lady’s job around the campus was to sweep the sidewalks. Each day she came and swept the walks with her home made broom, which was made of small branches from bushes tied to the end of sturdy stick. However the homemade broom kept the walks clean.
One small room at the seminary had two windows on a wall. They wanted to convert this area into a prayer room. They removed the windows, secured mortar and bricks and began to fill the holes in the wall. About half way in filling the space where the windows were removed, Paul and his co-workers had a great idea. Since the hammer had been hidden in the wall of a house in Texas and found, perhaps they could leave the hammer hidden between brick walls in Kiev, Ukraine for some future builder to find. And so it was done. Some where, half a world away, mortared behind a brick wall of a seminary Prayer Room, is an old hammer with a hand made handle, labeled: Richard Wear, Liberty Hill, Texas 2010 A.D.