Rebuilding Together Alexandria helped Derrick and his family renovate their home in honor of National Rebuilding Day.
Derrick, a father of six kids, has lived in his home for 10 years. His youngest is 8 months and his oldest is 18.
Derrick’s mobility is limited due to both his knees being operated on. The knee operations made it impossible for Derrick to continue working as a landscaper. When money started getting tight, Derrick began investing everything he could into what he saw as the most important thing in his life. His children.
Derrick’s love for his kids can be seen all around the house. His fridge is adorned with photos of his children, of their great grades, and their schedules. He said it’s important that his children feel like they have the best quality of life they can have. Sports equipment fills the house. Derrick saves it all just in case a little brother or sister has the urge to pick up a basketball.
If Derrick instills one thing in his children, it’ll be a love for learning. The family went 7 years without a TV, and the kids spent their free time reading. One of their living room walls is full of flyers from various colleges and universities. Derrick hopes it will inspire his kids to go to college. It’s apparently worked. His oldest is now studying architecture in Virginia. While volunteers were working on the family home, Derrick was quizzing one of his daughters on Roman history. He spent the night before helping one of his younger sons with a school report.
While the kids were growing to be readers, athletes, and college students, their home was beginning to fall apart. Their roof would leak when it rained or the snow melted. The front storm door had no screen or glass, so the heat and cool air would escape the home. The water heater leaked constantly, forcing Derrick to mop the basement for hours a day.
Derrick said it was hard for him to ask for help.”I had to swallow my pride. I’ve been working hard all my life.”
Rebuilding Together Alexandria volunteers replaced the broken water heater first. In fact, they did it within days of seeing the condition of Derrick’s old one. On National Rebuilding Day, volunteers repaired Derrick’s front and back porches, replaced the broken storm door, installed handrails, painted the interior walls, and patched the leaky roof.
Watching over a dozen volunteers repair his home, Derrick said, “It’s the best thing to happen. It’s a blessing.”