PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — It was a mix of music and humanity, packed in a Camp Street basement that felt warm, safe and happy.
But the foreclosure crisis found Salvation 220’s stage in the big yellow house, the home where the late David Hector and his wife Betty raised six children.
Hector, a local preacher and sax player, started the mid-week jam sessions in the early 90’s, inviting the many local musicians he knew. Salvation 220 sprouted and grew from there into more than two decades of Wednesdays.
“We played for fun, for the community,” Hector explained once. “And people came from all over. Sometimes we’d even pick them up at apartment towers, nursing homes.”
And sometimes from no homes at all. For one night at least, the needy had a front row seat to see some pretty cool, improvised jazz.
“And maybe a doughnut and a cup of coffee,” Betty said, standing in front of the sprawling, historic house at 220 Camp. “And even a few bucks when we could, if they needed it.”
In 2001, about six months after the first broadcast peak into this unique world, the Hector’s youngest child Joe was shot to death in a drive-by shooting, up the street from the yellow house.
“Joe died,” Betty said through tears during a vigil. “God, he didn’t need to die like that.”
But at the worst time of their lives, the Hectors called for forgiveness and salvation for the killer in what remains an unsolved murder.
“They took away someone that cared even for the fella or whoever shot him,” David said at the time. “He still cared for that person. That’s the way my son was.”
His wife felt the same way.
“Even the boy, God knows who did it. I love him because God loves him.”
The foreclosure crisis was not as forgiving as the Hectors.
As many Rhode Islanders did, the Hectors lost equity in their property, and watched their interest rate balloon to 11 percent. Even after conversations with congressman, city leaders and attorneys, and stacks of paperwork filed with the bank, a process that started around 2011, finally ran its course over the summer.
The bank took the house that was home to the Hectors and Salvation 220.
“I asked for the help. I didn’t get what I wanted,” Betty said. “But I didn’t hold it against anybody. Because I’m thinking maybe they did what they could and if they didn’t, so be it.”
The last night was part pizza party, part sleepover for Betty, her children and some family friends.
“It was really tough,” Betty’s daughter Mary said. “We just cried. We all hugged. We all just came together. We prayed. I pray every night and say, God just let us get it back.”
For some reason, the kitchen light has remained on months after the final electric bill was paid.
That offers a flash of hope for the Hectors, who always left that light on for a reason.
“If anyone came in the middle of the night looking for something, that light was on,” Betty said. “To let them know they could ring the bell and somebody would answer.”
She hasn’t quite given up, even though her final night in the house was months ago.
“Something good has to come out of something good. And I’ll just wait for that day for something good to come back.”
Hector was told her now former home will sell for about $150,000, or about twice the amount of interest she says the Hectors paid the bank over the years.Email Walt at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story ideas and follow us on Twitter: @StreetStories12 and @wbuteau.