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.”

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.”

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.”

Lily has lived in her Redwood City home for over 50 years. She moved there from Seattle to work for a California pharmaceutical company. It’s also where she met her husband and raised her daughter.
Lisa, Lily’ neighbor, saw Rebuilding Together Peninsula in action during National Rebuilding Day. After learning more about them, Lisa realized this is exactly what Lily needed. Lily was a bit nervous filling out the application so Lisa helped her throughout the entire process.
Lily, now retired, has lived alone in the house since her husband, a U.S. veteran, passed away. Her fixed income made it impossible for her to do home repairs herself. Lisa was worried about Lily’s safety. She told Rebuilding Together Peninsula, “Her home is in terrible condition. It needs a new paint job, possibly a roof, maybe a window or two, the fence is falling down, and landscaping is badly needed. Everything is dirt or weeds.”
Lily said, “This will be tremendous,” once she found out she was getting free critical home repairs.
Forty volunteers from Rebuilding Together Peninsula put in new windows, updated Lily’s gas line’s safety, landscaped the lawn, updated the electrical panel, installed a new washer, dryer, and fridge, added a handrail, painted, fixed the drywall, and much more. The sponsors were Bumble Los Altos and Cody|Brock and Brian and Mary Heffernan spearheaded the project.
Lily Abt, from Rebuilding Together Peninsula, said Lily was always gracious, charming, and in disbelief that she was receiving this kind of help at no charge.

You can see a video about Lily here.

Lily has lived in her Redwood City home for over 50 years. She moved there from Seattle to work for a California pharmaceutical company. It’s also where she met her husband and raised her daughter.

Lisa, Lily’ neighbor, saw Rebuilding Together Peninsula in action during National Rebuilding Day. After learning more about them, Lisa realized this is exactly what Lily needed. Lily was a bit nervous filling out the application so Lisa helped her throughout the entire process.

Lily, now retired, has lived alone in the house since her husband, a U.S. veteran, passed away. Her fixed income made it impossible for her to do home repairs herself. Lisa was worried about Lily’s safety. She told Rebuilding Together Peninsula, “Her home is in terrible condition. It needs a new paint job, possibly a roof, maybe a window or two, the fence is falling down, and landscaping is badly needed. Everything is dirt or weeds.”

Lily said, “This will be tremendous,” once she found out she was getting free critical home repairs.

Forty volunteers from Rebuilding Together Peninsula put in new windows, updated Lily’s gas line’s safety, landscaped the lawn, updated the electrical panel, installed a new washer, dryer, and fridge, added a handrail, painted, fixed the drywall, and much more. The sponsors were Bumble Los Altos and Cody|Brock and Brian and Mary Heffernan spearheaded the project.

Lily Abt, from Rebuilding Together Peninsula, said Lily was always gracious, charming, and in disbelief that she was receiving this kind of help at no charge.

You can see a video about Lily here.

Rebuilding Together and Rebuilding Together New York City are teaming up with Major League Baseball, The New York Mets, and Bank of America to renovate a veteran’s facility in New York!
Volunteers will repair St. Albans Community Center on Monday, July 15. Located in Jamaica, Queens neighborhood, St. Albans Community Center is owned and operated by the New York State Department of Health for Veterans. This facility boasts 250 beds for veterans their dependents. The home offers therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for patients. Their nursing department has over 200 employees including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, secretaries, and ward clerks.
Volunteers will landscape the grounds, including planting shrubbery and spreading mulch They will build benches and window covers for the basement. They’ll put together a barbeque area. Volunteers will build new pieces of furniture. Interior painting includes the facility’s bowling alley checkout room, shoe room, a stairwell, a balcony, and the main room. Gift bags will also be assembled for the St. Albans Community Center veterans.
This project is a part of the MLB’s All-Star Week. Various other projects giving back to the community will take place throughout Saturday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 16.
In 2012, Rebuilding Together worked with the MLB, Kansas City Royals, and Bank of America to renovate the Kansas City VA Honor Annex. Volunteers transformed an empty commercial space into a place of healing for our nation’s veterans. 

Rebuilding Together and Rebuilding Together New York City are teaming up with Major League Baseball, The New York Mets, and Bank of America to renovate a veteran’s facility in New York!

Volunteers will repair St. Albans Community Center on Monday, July 15. Located in Jamaica, Queens neighborhood, St. Albans Community Center is owned and operated by the New York State Department of Health for Veterans. This facility boasts 250 beds for veterans their dependents. The home offers therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy for patients. Their nursing department has over 200 employees including registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, secretaries, and ward clerks.

Volunteers will landscape the grounds, including planting shrubbery and spreading mulch They will build benches and window covers for the basement. They’ll put together a barbeque area. Volunteers will build new pieces of furniture. Interior painting includes the facility’s bowling alley checkout room, shoe room, a stairwell, a balcony, and the main room. Gift bags will also be assembled for the St. Albans Community Center veterans.

This project is a part of the MLB’s All-Star Week. Various other projects giving back to the community will take place throughout Saturday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 16.

In 2012, Rebuilding Together worked with the MLB, Kansas City Royals, and Bank of America to renovate the Kansas City VA Honor Annex. Volunteers transformed an empty commercial space into a place of healing for our nation’s veterans. 

Charity Navigator has awarded Rebuilding Together with a 4-star rating for the 9th year in a row. This mark of distinction places us in the top one percent of organizations evaluated. You can visit Charity Navigator’s website to review our profile, learn more about their methodologies and see their tips on being a savvy donor.

What does this rating mean to you? Our 4-star rating means that you can trust Rebuilding Together to use our resources responsibly to provide extensive home rehabilitation and modification services to homeowners in need at no cost to those we serve. Our work positively impacts the condition of the surrounding community as well through community center rehabilitation, playground builds, and partnerships with organizations focused on energy efficiency, sustainable community gardens, volunteer engagement, and education. With the help of everyday citizen volunteers, skilled tradespeople, and the support of local business and major corporate partners, Rebuilding Together affiliates make life better for thousands of low-income homeowners every year.

Rebuilding Together’s 4-star rating from Charity Navigator also means that when you support us, you are supporting one of the best safe and healthy housing organizations in the United States. According to Charity Navigator’s rating chart, a 4-star rating means we are exceptional because we exceed industry standards and outperform most charities in our cause. Our network of almost 200 affiliated non-profits brings together 200,000 volunteers and completes nearly 10,000 projects each year. For every $1 donated to Rebuilding Together, $4 of value is delivered to our projects. Collectively that’s over $1.3 billion in market value reinvested to date into the communities we serve. We encourage you to visit our profile on Charity Navigator to learn about our great financial health, accountability and transparency.

"Rebuilding Together is honored to be included in the top 1 percent of charities that have received at least nine consecutive 4-star evaluations from Charity Navigator," said John L. Fiegel, interim president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "This outstanding rating demonstrates our ability to serve the needs of low-income homeowners and communities in an efficient and cost effective manner and validates our mission to our donors, supporters, and our affiliates. We strive to be a fiscally responsible organization while increasing the capacity and outreach of our programs."

There are currently 6,000 homeowners in need on the Rebuilding Together waiting list depending on supporters like you. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home. If you agree and would like to join our efforts, please visit us online to offer your support, look up your local affiliate to volunteer on an upcoming project, engage with us on social media and more. Your support helps your neighbors near and far with free critical home repairs. Home by Home, Block by Block, entire communities are transformed with your support.

Charity Navigator has awarded Rebuilding Together with a 4-star rating for the 9th year in a row. This mark of distinction places us in the top one percent of organizations evaluated. You can visit Charity Navigator’s website to review our profile, learn more about their methodologies and see their tips on being a savvy donor.

What does this rating mean to you? Our 4-star rating means that you can trust Rebuilding Together to use our resources responsibly to provide extensive home rehabilitation and modification services to homeowners in need at no cost to those we serve. Our work positively impacts the condition of the surrounding community as well through community center rehabilitation, playground builds, and partnerships with organizations focused on energy efficiency, sustainable community gardens, volunteer engagement, and education. With the help of everyday citizen volunteers, skilled tradespeople, and the support of local business and major corporate partners, Rebuilding Together affiliates make life better for thousands of low-income homeowners every year.

Rebuilding Together’s 4-star rating from Charity Navigator also means that when you support us, you are supporting one of the best safe and healthy housing organizations in the United States. According to Charity Navigator’s rating chart, a 4-star rating means we are exceptional because we exceed industry standards and outperform most charities in our cause. Our network of almost 200 affiliated non-profits brings together 200,000 volunteers and completes nearly 10,000 projects each year. For every $1 donated to Rebuilding Together, $4 of value is delivered to our projects. Collectively that’s over $1.3 billion in market value reinvested to date into the communities we serve. We encourage you to visit our profile on Charity Navigator to learn about our great financial health, accountability and transparency.

"Rebuilding Together is honored to be included in the top 1 percent of charities that have received at least nine consecutive 4-star evaluations from Charity Navigator," said John L. Fiegel, interim president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "This outstanding rating demonstrates our ability to serve the needs of low-income homeowners and communities in an efficient and cost effective manner and validates our mission to our donors, supporters, and our affiliates. We strive to be a fiscally responsible organization while increasing the capacity and outreach of our programs."

There are currently 6,000 homeowners in need on the Rebuilding Together waiting list depending on supporters like you. We believe that everyone deserves to live in a safe and healthy home. If you agree and would like to join our efforts, please visit us online to offer your support, look up your local affiliate to volunteer on an upcoming project, engage with us on social media and more. Your support helps your neighbors near and far with free critical home repairs. Home by Home, Block by Block, entire communities are transformed with your support.

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.”

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.”

On February 1st, Rebuilding Together will celebrate our 18th Annual Kickoff to Rebuild, a Super Bowl sanctioned charity event. NFL stars Garrett Hartley and Robert Royal will join our volunteers as we renovate the homes of low-income homeowners in New Orleans. Below are just some of the stories of the people we are helping.
The Moores
Mr. and Mrs. Moore are childhood sweethearts who have been married for nearly 35 years. Mr. Moore served in the Navy for two years shortly after graduating from high school. The Moores’ eldest son and daughter share their father’s passion for service and joined the Air Force. Their daughter assisted her fellow New Orleanians during and after Hurricane Isaac. 
"I’ve been around the world, and no matter where you go, there ain’t no place quite like New Orleans," said Mr. Moore. The Moores plan on watching the Super Bowl together in their newly renovated home.
Anthony Hudson and Lauren Pope
Anthony Hudson joined the military after graduating high school and served one term as an Ammunition Specialist. While being stationed in Iraq, he watched as Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Ever since being honorably discharged, he has dedicated himself to improving the quality of life for his family and others around him.
Anthony and Lauren are engaged and have three children together. The renovations they’re receiving will make their house a safe and healthy home for their kids to grow up in. 
Lois Paige
Lois Paige has lived in New Orleans for over 90 years. This retired elementary school teacher, wife, and mother has been a strong contributor within her community. Her proudest moment came when her daughter graduated from Tulane University’s Newcomb College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.
Due to arthritis and other health issues, it is difficult for Ms. Paige to move around her house. Ms. Paige receives excellent care from her daughter and a sense of security from living next door to her grandson. However, the critical home repairs she will receive will greatly better her quality of life. 

On February 1st, Rebuilding Together will celebrate our 18th Annual Kickoff to Rebuild, a Super Bowl sanctioned charity event. NFL stars Garrett Hartley and Robert Royal will join our volunteers as we renovate the homes of low-income homeowners in New Orleans. Below are just some of the stories of the people we are helping.

The Moores

Mr. and Mrs. Moore are childhood sweethearts who have been married for nearly 35 years. Mr. Moore served in the Navy for two years shortly after graduating from high school. The Moores’ eldest son and daughter share their father’s passion for service and joined the Air Force. Their daughter assisted her fellow New Orleanians during and after Hurricane Isaac. 

"I’ve been around the world, and no matter where you go, there ain’t no place quite like New Orleans," said Mr. Moore. The Moores plan on watching the Super Bowl together in their newly renovated home.

Anthony Hudson and Lauren Pope

Anthony Hudson joined the military after graduating high school and served one term as an Ammunition Specialist. While being stationed in Iraq, he watched as Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans. Ever since being honorably discharged, he has dedicated himself to improving the quality of life for his family and others around him.

Anthony and Lauren are engaged and have three children together. The renovations they’re receiving will make their house a safe and healthy home for their kids to grow up in. 

Lois Paige

Lois Paige has lived in New Orleans for over 90 years. This retired elementary school teacher, wife, and mother has been a strong contributor within her community. Her proudest moment came when her daughter graduated from Tulane University’s Newcomb College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

Due to arthritis and other health issues, it is difficult for Ms. Paige to move around her house. Ms. Paige receives excellent care from her daughter and a sense of security from living next door to her grandson. However, the critical home repairs she will receive will greatly better her quality of life. 

From Fighting for His Country, to Fighting for His Wife
Ben and Kim fell in love when they went to prom together and spent the whole night talking. Their romance was a long time coming, the two first met in the first grade.  
Ben joined the Army after 9/11. He and Kim were engaged after he came back from his training. After becoming engaged, Kim graduated college, and the couple bought their first home.
On leave, Ben and Kim married before Ben was deployed to Afghanistan. Ben spent the next 18 months in Afghanistan. Kim gave birth to their daughter, Elayna, and Ben was deployed for another 18 month tour to Iraq shortly after her birth.
When Ben returned from Iraq, Kim was pregnant with their son, Mack. Ben decided that he wanted to take a job within the military that would allow him to stay close to his wife and two children. Ben landed a job as a military recruiter, and Kim began planning to get her master’s degree.
Ben went to New Jersey for a weekend to train for his new position. During that same weekend, Kim went with their children to a cousin’s birthday. Kids at the party were riding 4 wheelers, and Mack begged his mom to give him a ride. Kim was hesitant at first, but hopped on one with Mack. She knew immediately that something was wrong. The accelerator became stuck, and Kim was unable to make it stop or slow down. Kim then threw Mack off the vehicle. Her 4 wheeler was heading straight towards a group of kids. Kim flipped the vehicle over in order to avoid the children. The flip caused Kim’s neck to break. She then spent the next several months in Colorado at a spine injury hospital. Kim is now a quadriplegic as a result of the accident. Ben now spends two hours every morning helping Kim get ready.
Their family home became virtually inaccessible to Kim after her accident. With Rebuilding Together Fox Valley, a volunteer architect, their local NARI affiliate and Home Builders Association, their home was renovated be more accessible for Kim. They made additions to their kitchen, bathrooms, hallways, doors, and built a therapy room.
Major work in the bathroom entailed building a roll-in shower, two sinks with one being a roll under, a heat lamp for the shower, a toilet that Kim’s shower chair can roll over, and some storage for medical supplies.
For Ben and Kim’s bedroom, Rebuilding Together established an overhead lift with a track to the bathroom, a bed that is level with Kim’s chair, and additional room to maneuver.
The kitchen was updated to include a roll under sink and counter space, lower counter weight, lower cabinets that slide out and appliances that are easier for Kim to use. They also made the entrances to the garage and yard more accessible for Kim to use. Finally, Rebuilding Together installed door openers for entryways, a way to control the blinds and lights, raised outlets, and floor coverings that are wheelchair friendly.
Elayna has been diagnosed with Marfan’s Syndrome. It is highly likely that their daughter will need to have heart surgery. She is on medication and needs to adhere to strict limits and guidelines for her activities.
These medical woes haven’t affected this family’s spirit though. They remain upbeat and hopeful. Kim volunteers at their daughter’s school twice a week. She and her daughter both volunteer for a teen parenting program through the school district.

From Fighting for His Country, to Fighting for His Wife

Ben and Kim fell in love when they went to prom together and spent the whole night talking. Their romance was a long time coming, the two first met in the first grade.  

Ben joined the Army after 9/11. He and Kim were engaged after he came back from his training. After becoming engaged, Kim graduated college, and the couple bought their first home.

On leave, Ben and Kim married before Ben was deployed to Afghanistan. Ben spent the next 18 months in Afghanistan. Kim gave birth to their daughter, Elayna, and Ben was deployed for another 18 month tour to Iraq shortly after her birth.

When Ben returned from Iraq, Kim was pregnant with their son, Mack. Ben decided that he wanted to take a job within the military that would allow him to stay close to his wife and two children. Ben landed a job as a military recruiter, and Kim began planning to get her master’s degree.

Ben went to New Jersey for a weekend to train for his new position. During that same weekend, Kim went with their children to a cousin’s birthday. Kids at the party were riding 4 wheelers, and Mack begged his mom to give him a ride. Kim was hesitant at first, but hopped on one with Mack. She knew immediately that something was wrong. The accelerator became stuck, and Kim was unable to make it stop or slow down. Kim then threw Mack off the vehicle. Her 4 wheeler was heading straight towards a group of kids. Kim flipped the vehicle over in order to avoid the children. The flip caused Kim’s neck to break. She then spent the next several months in Colorado at a spine injury hospital. Kim is now a quadriplegic as a result of the accident. Ben now spends two hours every morning helping Kim get ready.

Their family home became virtually inaccessible to Kim after her accident. With Rebuilding Together Fox Valley, a volunteer architect, their local NARI affiliate and Home Builders Association, their home was renovated be more accessible for Kim. They made additions to their kitchen, bathrooms, hallways, doors, and built a therapy room.

Major work in the bathroom entailed building a roll-in shower, two sinks with one being a roll under, a heat lamp for the shower, a toilet that Kim’s shower chair can roll over, and some storage for medical supplies.

For Ben and Kim’s bedroom, Rebuilding Together established an overhead lift with a track to the bathroom, a bed that is level with Kim’s chair, and additional room to maneuver.

The kitchen was updated to include a roll under sink and counter space, lower counter weight, lower cabinets that slide out and appliances that are easier for Kim to use. They also made the entrances to the garage and yard more accessible for Kim to use. Finally, Rebuilding Together installed door openers for entryways, a way to control the blinds and lights, raised outlets, and floor coverings that are wheelchair friendly.

Elayna has been diagnosed with Marfan’s Syndrome. It is highly likely that their daughter will need to have heart surgery. She is on medication and needs to adhere to strict limits and guidelines for her activities.

These medical woes haven’t affected this family’s spirit though. They remain upbeat and hopeful. Kim volunteers at their daughter’s school twice a week. She and her daughter both volunteer for a teen parenting program through the school district.

From Homeless to Hopeful 
Hope for Tomorrow, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that provides safe, structured, substance free housing, and professional counseling services. Founded in 1999, Hope for Tomorrow operates through five different recovery homes in the Chicago area. They’ve helped hundreds of individuals reunite with their families, develop a lifestyle centered on concrete spiritual principles, and incorporate a standard of living that fosters their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.
Hope for Tomorrow has an 86 percent success rate for taking unemployed, homeless, and indigent veterans struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues and helping them remain completely substance-free and successfully reintegrating them back into society and becoming contributing members of their community.
Jeff Gilbert, Hope for Tomorrow’s Clinical and Executive Director, purchased a historic home for what is now called their U.S. Veterans Home Renovations Project in 2010. The project is an expansive renovation for the historic home built in 1857. This home will serve as a second site to provide safe, structured, supportive, and substance free housing to U.S. veterans who suffer from war-borne trauma and substance abuse issues. This site will also provide 12-step support and recovery groups to hundreds of men and women in the local community.
In 2011, a team from Rebuilding Together Aurora volunteered for Hope for Tomorrow’s renovations for their U.S. Veterans Home. They did demolition work, removed an old stairwell and interior plaster, installed a new subfloor, and performed landscaping clean up. In 2012, Rebuilding Together Aurora went back with the help of Sears to fix the U.S. Veterans Home’s plumbing, prime and paint the kitchen, install new appliances, and do more landscaping work. They also worked with the Waubonsee Community College HVAC program on the site.
When the U.S. Veterans Home Renovation Project is completed, the 2-story, 3,800-square foot facility will have 7 bedrooms to house 15 veterans, accessibility quarters for veterans with disabilities, office space for counselors, a computer lab, and meeting spaces.

From Homeless to Hopeful

Hope for Tomorrow, Inc., is a nonprofit organization that provides safe, structured, substance free housing, and professional counseling services. Founded in 1999, Hope for Tomorrow operates through five different recovery homes in the Chicago area. They’ve helped hundreds of individuals reunite with their families, develop a lifestyle centered on concrete spiritual principles, and incorporate a standard of living that fosters their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.

Hope for Tomorrow has an 86 percent success rate for taking unemployed, homeless, and indigent veterans struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues and helping them remain completely substance-free and successfully reintegrating them back into society and becoming contributing members of their community.

Jeff Gilbert, Hope for Tomorrow’s Clinical and Executive Director, purchased a historic home for what is now called their U.S. Veterans Home Renovations Project in 2010. The project is an expansive renovation for the historic home built in 1857. This home will serve as a second site to provide safe, structured, supportive, and substance free housing to U.S. veterans who suffer from war-borne trauma and substance abuse issues. This site will also provide 12-step support and recovery groups to hundreds of men and women in the local community.

In 2011, a team from Rebuilding Together Aurora volunteered for Hope for Tomorrow’s renovations for their U.S. Veterans Home. They did demolition work, removed an old stairwell and interior plaster, installed a new subfloor, and performed landscaping clean up. In 2012, Rebuilding Together Aurora went back with the help of Sears to fix the U.S. Veterans Home’s plumbing, prime and paint the kitchen, install new appliances, and do more landscaping work. They also worked with the Waubonsee Community College HVAC program on the site.

When the U.S. Veterans Home Renovation Project is completed, the 2-story, 3,800-square foot facility will have 7 bedrooms to house 15 veterans, accessibility quarters for veterans with disabilities, office space for counselors, a computer lab, and meeting spaces.

For Sargeant Mark Steppe, the Hardest Battle is Now at Home
Mark Steppe came home from Iraq not only with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, but also with a bone disease his doctors have yet to identify.
In his 13 month tour in Iraq, Mark was a team leader on a Bradley Gunner and earned a Combat Infantry Medal. He has also been nominated for a Bronze Star for saving the lives of two of his fellow soldiers. He attempted to save a third soldier who succumbed to injuries in Mark’s arms. He trained in California before being stationed in Texas and South Korea.
Lesions are continuing to grow on Mark’s bones, and they are spreading. The 29-year- old veteran now uses a cane and suffers mid to high levels of chronic pain every day, which can get so severe it leaves this former soldier in tears. The high level of pain has also made Mark so worn out and drained that he feels he has aged far beyond 29. Mark said with a nostalgic smile, “I used to be a stud - buff,” before his bone condition set in.
The Steppe family reached out to Rebuilding Together Bergen County to help turn their home into a safe and healthy environment for Mark to recover in.
He has 15 medical appointments a month with a variety of doctors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Mark relies on his wife, Amy Steppe, his in-laws, and volunteers from the American Legion Hall to drive him to his appointments because he can no longer operate a vehicle due to his physical condition. He has been prescribed powerful pain medication to help alleviate his symptoms. However, these same pain relievers leave Mark feeling dull and glassy eyed. He has adopted a regimen of meditation and classical music to fight back against the pain. Mark is hoping that he is chosen to visit the National Institutes of Health to meet with a team of doctors who may provide a diagnosis and effective medicine.
Mark is still adjusting to being dependent on others, but he credits Amy and her very supportive parents with his recovery. Amy, 31, is a veteran herself. She served as a Corporal in the Marines. She also trained in California and was stationed in Japan for a year. The two met in California when Amy was attending college. Amy was told by friends that they knew a veteran who was having difficulty adjusting to life back in the States. She visited Mark to help him, and the two quickly became a couple. Mark and Amy have two sons named Torin, 10, and Jack, 2. Amy’s hope is that Mark is admitted to the NIH. Her concern is that her elderly parents are becoming too exhausted due to the large amount of help they give to their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.
Mark and Amy believe the help they received from Rebuilding Together Bergen County will benefit their entire family. Rebuilding Together Bergen County repaired their basement by adding insulation, sheet rock, flooring, lighting, baseboard heating, trim, and paint. Their new basement is an oasis for Mark to meditate. Amy’s parents now use the old living room as a place to escape to watch TV, read a book, or even entertain company. The Steppes can now stay in their family home, their children can remain in their school, and they can thrive in their supportive community of friends and family.

For Sargeant Mark Steppe, the Hardest Battle is Now at Home

Mark Steppe came home from Iraq not only with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, but also with a bone disease his doctors have yet to identify.

In his 13 month tour in Iraq, Mark was a team leader on a Bradley Gunner and earned a Combat Infantry Medal. He has also been nominated for a Bronze Star for saving the lives of two of his fellow soldiers. He attempted to save a third soldier who succumbed to injuries in Mark’s arms. He trained in California before being stationed in Texas and South Korea.

Lesions are continuing to grow on Mark’s bones, and they are spreading. The 29-year- old veteran now uses a cane and suffers mid to high levels of chronic pain every day, which can get so severe it leaves this former soldier in tears. The high level of pain has also made Mark so worn out and drained that he feels he has aged far beyond 29. Mark said with a nostalgic smile, “I used to be a stud - buff,” before his bone condition set in.

The Steppe family reached out to Rebuilding Together Bergen County to help turn their home into a safe and healthy environment for Mark to recover in.

He has 15 medical appointments a month with a variety of doctors, physical therapists, and occupational therapists. Mark relies on his wife, Amy Steppe, his in-laws, and volunteers from the American Legion Hall to drive him to his appointments because he can no longer operate a vehicle due to his physical condition. He has been prescribed powerful pain medication to help alleviate his symptoms. However, these same pain relievers leave Mark feeling dull and glassy eyed. He has adopted a regimen of meditation and classical music to fight back against the pain. Mark is hoping that he is chosen to visit the National Institutes of Health to meet with a team of doctors who may provide a diagnosis and effective medicine.

Mark is still adjusting to being dependent on others, but he credits Amy and her very supportive parents with his recovery. Amy, 31, is a veteran herself. She served as a Corporal in the Marines. She also trained in California and was stationed in Japan for a year. The two met in California when Amy was attending college. Amy was told by friends that they knew a veteran who was having difficulty adjusting to life back in the States. She visited Mark to help him, and the two quickly became a couple. Mark and Amy have two sons named Torin, 10, and Jack, 2. Amy’s hope is that Mark is admitted to the NIH. Her concern is that her elderly parents are becoming too exhausted due to the large amount of help they give to their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.

Mark and Amy believe the help they received from Rebuilding Together Bergen County will benefit their entire family. Rebuilding Together Bergen County repaired their basement by adding insulation, sheet rock, flooring, lighting, baseboard heating, trim, and paint. Their new basement is an oasis for Mark to meditate. Amy’s parents now use the old living room as a place to escape to watch TV, read a book, or even entertain company. The Steppes can now stay in their family home, their children can remain in their school, and they can thrive in their supportive community of friends and family.