Construction worker recognized after repairing East Side church damaged by car

Armando Villarreal spent weeks repairing thousands of dollars worth of damage

SAN ANTONIO – An East Side church recognized a San Antonio construction worker for his great act of repairing a portion of their building free of charge.

Mt Gilead Baptist Church on East Crocket Street had a silver Mazda back into it at a high rate of speed two years ago.

“I was one of the first ones to see what had happened,” said Bruce Miller, a deacon of the church. “I was mad and upset at first because it was a puzzling thing to see.”

Already stressed about how much the damage would cost, the church feared it would be out thousands of dollars. That’s when Armando Villarreal stepped in.

“I heard this story, and I said, ‘Man, I know I can do something.’ I said, ‘Lord, if it is your will, send me out there,’ and that is what happened,” Villarreal said. “Day by day, it a step by faith. I am just giving God all of the honor and all the glory because it was his desire that was placed in my heart. He told me, ‘You go. You’re willing. I will send you,’ and that is what happened, and he made it happen.”

Villarreal said he knows what it is like to be on the end of needing help.

“It was a step of faith because, at the time, I was behind on my mortgage and didn’t have any money. God literally provided every step of the way,” he said.

For several weeks, and despite discouraging moments with financial obstacles, Villarreal and his workers got the job done, repairing things back to normal. It cost him around $15,000 worth of labor.

“We kind of scratched our heads because we thought there is a catch somewhere,” Miller said. “Nobody does anything for nothing these days, but he came out and never cost us a dime. The emotions ran high. Once he got into it and started working it, he never stopped.”

On Sunday, the church had a special ceremony in honor of Villarreal’s work. The plan was to have the event sooner, but it was pushed back due to the pandemic.

“It was beautiful,” Miller said. “The pastor had tears in his eyes. The congregation all had their eyes watered down because he did such a marvelous job.”

“It was amazing,” Villarreal said. “It was a big surprise.”

He was presented with an appreciation for restoration award.

Miller said he hopes his act of kindness inspires others to pay it forward.

“To see your church just opened up, and you wonder, ‘What are we going to do?’ I just thank God that he made a way,” Villarreal said. “When you step out, and you give your hand to help someone without expecting anything in return, God will work in mighty ways. We cannot take anything from this world, but we can leave memories that impact the heart.”

“Nobody can tear down God’s house but God himself,” Miller said. “Nobody can touch it or hurt it or destroy where it can’t be fixed up by God himself, and God brought Armando in our lives. Through God, everything is possible.”

At this time, San Antonio police still have not been able to locate the driver of the car that crashed into the building.

They’re urging anyone with any information to contact authorities.

About the Authors

Japhanie Gray joined 10 News as an anchor in March 2022.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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