Margie and Jimmy have been married for 50 years and live in the West Bank neighborhood of New Orleans. Jimmy, a Marine Corps vet, is just one of several veterans that live in this community, which Rebuilding Together New Orleans has been focusing on recently. Margie spends a lot of her time taking care of her husband ever since he had a stroke. Due to the stroke, he must use a wheelchair.
When Rebuilding Together New Orleans was canvassing the area to find low-income homeowners to help, they saw Margie tending to her beautiful garden. All she said their house needed was small repairs in their kitchen.
Rebuilding Together New Orleans quickly realized this modest couple needed much more than just a few kitchen repairs. Their house lacked a door handle, which posed a significant safety risk. Only half of the ceiling tiles were intact and mold had started growing in the ceiling. Volunteers quickly got to work painting their exterior and replacing the broken door knobs, damaged siding, and the kitchen ceiling tiles.
Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church recently worked with Handyman Corps, the USAA, and Duty First Consulting to repair the home of Andrew and Judy.
Andrew spent the first six years of his life in a Native American reservation. His family moved to the Buffalo, NY, area and he later joined the army. He eventually settled down in Northern Virginia after traveling around the U.S. after his tour of service. He spent some time living with his sister before getting a job at a government employee market. It’s there he met fellow employee and future wife Judy, who he married in 1966.
The couple has faced serious health problems. Judy was born legally blind, and Andrew had to have a triple bypass surgery due to a heart attack. However, the surgeon removed the wrong artery. He had to have one of his legs amputated due to complications from that surgical mistake.
The couple doesn’t let their health keep them down. Judy works in customer service for an HVAC company. Andrew drives her to work every day and waits for her in the parking lot or visits other stores in the area. He also spends his time painting and making figurines inspired by his Native American heritage.
Handyman Corps volunteers replaced the couple’s railings, repaired their ramp, and repaired their doors and door frames. Andrew worked alongside the Handyman Corps volunteers as much as he could.
USAA and Duty First Consulting volunteers installed a raised toilet, a carbon monoxide detector, and cleaned out their drains. Volunteers also painted their ramp to help preserve it and smooth out any splinters. They also painted their roof white to help keep their home cool in the summer by reflecting sun light.
After the work was completed, Andrew called Rebuilding Together Arlington/Fairfax/Falls Church and said, “It’s only been a day, but I miss everybody like heck already.”
Mack is a 76-year-old U.S. Air Force veteran. He is on oxygen due to emphysema and uses a walker and motorized scooter to move around. He was completely housebound for three years until the VA installed a chairlift in his home three months ago.
Mack’s wife recently passed away, and his home still needed more repairs and safety modifications if he was going to continue living there alone. Rebuilding Together Metro Chicago volunteers built him an accessible back porch, including a new backdoor, ramps, and improved exterior lighting.
Mack served 12 years during the conflicts in Vietnam and Korea. He was stationed in Germany, Japan, and Greenland. He said, “It was a wonderful time in my life and very important to me to serve my country. I don’t regret a single moment of it.”
Shirley, 59, is the primary caregiver for her 16-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy. They sought help from Rebuilding Together Sacramento because their home lacked the proper safety modifications that could allow Alyssa to move around freely.
Rebuilding Together Sacramento volunteers installed several grab bars in their bathroom’s shower area. They also built a new ramp that leads from the backdoor to the backyard. Alyssa can now safely leave her home and enjoy her family’s backyard. Volunteers installed parallel bars in the backyard so Alyssa could safely walk up and down the entire length of the yard. Another ramp was installed from the family’s garage to their car.
Shirley told the volunteers, “The ramps are the greatest gifts.” She was also very pleased that her daughter can now exercise outside thanks to the parallel bars.
Rebuilding Together Omaha helped Beverly, 76, continue to age in place in her home, which she has lived in for 20 years.
Housing and poverty have become serious problems in Beverly’s Omaha neighborhood. Beverly, a soft spoken and quiet woman, applied to Rebuilding Together Omaha looking for home repairs that would make her home more accessible.
Volunteers replaced Beverly’s claw foot tub with a more accessible one. They also installed grab bars and a new showerhead. Members of the National Association of The Remodeling Industry (NARI) also repaired the front and back porches of her home, installing a stoop and handrails. Contractors repaired Beverly’s roof as well.
After the renovations were done, Beverly told the volunteers, “Thanks for helping me.”
Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee helped Fred and Wilma transform their house into a safe and healthy home.
Fred and Wilma have lived in their home for nearly 40 years. It’s where they raised their five children and now care for their six grandchildren. These retirees live on a fixed income and staying in their home as they age has become increasingly difficult.
Their one bathroom only had a claw foot tub, making getting in and out of the tub difficult for Fred and Wilma. The two were very afraid of falling trying to get in and out of the bath. With the help of an occupational therapist, Rebuilding Together Greater Milwaukee installed a new showerhead, several grab bars, and a new chair height toilet.
Mr. and Mrs. White live with three of their children and their grandchild. They’ve spent the last 21 years in their West Pittsburgh home raising their family.
Mr. White is substitute teacher and Mrs. White works for the municipal court system. These two working grandparents were finding it hard to keep a safe and healthy home while providing for their large family.
Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh was more than happy to help the Whites. Volunteers painted their kitchen walls, replaced 20-year-old flooring, replaced damaged ceiling tiles, and repaired broken baseboard heaters that risked burning the small children in the home. They also made the home more accessible by installing a new handrail on the front porch, a brighter light fixture, and stabilizing the handrail for the interior staircase.
Joseph and Dulcie are childhood friends turned high school sweethearts who were helped by Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley. The two love birds grew up just down the street from each other. They married when Joseph came back home after serving as an aircraft mechanic in the navy. “Serving in the navy has been the very best thing that has happened to me…besides my lovely wife, of course,” Joseph said with a big smile.
Joseph uses a cane to walk and has to carefully plan his movements when he uses the stairs. He wouldn’t use his high porch steps due to a fear of falling, making it impossible for him to go outside. Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley volunteers installed grab bars around their home so Joseph can steady himself as he moves. Volunteers also built half steps on his porch so Joseph could use his existing porch with greater ease. When asked if the new porch steps have helped him, Joseph emphatically said, “Oh, yeah. They’re great!”
Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley team members were shown Joseph’s tool shed when they made their second visit to see how he was doing. Joseph had collected a large amount of hand and power tools over the years. It was there and then that Joseph donated a table sander to Rebuilding Together Silicon Valley so they could continue helping his neighbors.
Rebuilding Together Central Ohio helped Ms. Scott, 89, during their Building a Healthy Neighborhood event.
Ms. Scott married her husband, a U.S. Army veteran, after he came home from serving his country in World War II. She still lives in the same house she and husband called home and raised their two children in. In fact, she’s been in her home for almost 70 years.
One her favorite things to do is sit outside on her porch and talk to the people passing by. The neighborhood knows her house as Porch Ministries and Ms. Scott is the self-proclaimed CEO.
She survives on a fixed income, which makes fixing the critical repairs she needs an impossibility. Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Central Ohio installed grab bars in her bathrooms, painted her bedroom, repaired downspouts to divert water away from the foundation, cleaned her gutters, and built a new back porch for her to safely enter and leave her home.
Rebuilding Together Sacramento helped Michael, a 58-year-old veteran, live in a safer and more accessible home.
Michael suffers from neuropathy, diabetes, and a degenerative disc in his back. With his limited mobility, Michael was concerned about falling hazards in his home. Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Sacramento installed grab bars, a shower mat, a toilet rise and seat, smoke and CO alarms, and a fire extinguisher. Volunteers will soon install wood railings in his home as well.
Michael said, “[This] will help my back big time. The install items will help me keep doings things around the house.”