Mr. Patterson, 65, is a retired carpenter and Vietnam War veteran living in Alexandria, Va. Due to being exposed to Agent Orange, a chemical made of herbicides used by the military in Vietnam to remove trees and vegetation, Mr. Patterson had to have both of his legs amputated. He now relies on his prosthetic legs to move around.
Rebuilding Together Alexandria worked with Mr. Patterson to ensure that his home was safe, healthy, and accessible. Mr. Patterson has spent his entire life in this home. They noticed that his lawn needed landscaping, the energy inefficiency of his home was costing him extra money in energy bills, and that it was difficult for Mr. Patterson to safely navigate his home.
The 20 volunteers that dedicated an entire day to renovating Mr. Patterson’s house wanted to give him a home where he could age in place and feel proud. The volunteers made energy efficient upgrades and renovations like cleaning out the coils under the refrigerator, sealing outlets, and weatherizing his windows and doors. While Mr. Patterson can still do many things on his own, he struggled with getting groceries from his car and into his home. Volunteers installed a gate on his porch closest to where Mr. Patterson parks. Now all he has to do is open the back door of his car, open the gate, and set the bags on the porch. Volunteers also installed a new wheel chair accessible ramp on Mr. Patterson’s back porch.
Mr. Patterson is elated with how the energy efficient upgrades have lowered his bills. And he is even happier with how much easier he can move around his home. In fact, one of his favorite things to do now is to sit out on his new porches.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like to grow up in one single home, fear you won’t be able to remain there, and then receive repairs and renovations so that you can age there safely,” said Ali Feudo, the AmeriCorps Community Outreach Coordinator for Rebuilding Together Alexandria. “But John doesn’t have to imagine. He knows. And that makes me happy.”