Volunteers with Rebuilding Together-Valparaiso will help the widow of a World War II and Korean War veteran stay in the home where she has lived for nearly 60 years with support from a $7,500 Heroes At Home project grant.
Approximately two dozen Rebuilding Together-Valparaiso volunteers will perform much-needed work at the home of Marilyn Houston on Oct. 2. Heroes At Home, a partnership of Sears Holdings Corporation and Rebuilding Together, is a key initiative for Rebuilding Together, the nation’s leading nonprofit working to preserve affordable homeownership, and is dedicated to improving the lives of the military and their families through extensive home rehabilitations.
Houston’s husband Tom altered his birth certificate at the age of 15 so he could join the Navy and serve his country during the latter stages of World War II. After being stationed in North Africa for nearly three years, he returned home to Valparaiso to start his family and remained in the reserves. In 1950, Tom was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and spent most of his second tour based at Pearl Harbor. The proud father, husband and patriot passed away in 1971.
Volunteers from Valparaiso University and the Valparaiso community will assist with work projects including replacement of windows and the removal of trees that are dead and in danger of toppling down from Houston’s yard.
“I love the neighborhood and I’m comfortable here,” Houston said. “I have lived here a long time and I love my neighbors, we get along real well. I’m so grateful, it’s just wonderful to get some help from Rebuilding Together.”
Jeffrey Lamb, president of Rebuilding Together-Valparaiso and a local Thrivent Financial consultant, said the grant will support the organization’s mission to help low-income, elderly or disabled Valparaiso homeowners maintain safe and healthy homes.
Heroes At Home projects will be completed in more than 40 cities across the country this fall and include renovations for veterans or the widows of veterans who are unable to live in their current home conditions. To date, the Heroes at Home program and Sears Holdings has raised over $12 million for Heroes at Home through a nationwide in-store fundraising campaign. Rebuilding Together has completed over 750 projects for veteran homeowners across the country. Porter County affiliates of Rebuilding Together have received nearly $55,000 through the Heroes at Home program.
Rebuilding Together-Valparaiso’s 22nd annual Work Day will take place April 16, 2011. Applications are available at Valparaiso City Hall or may be downloaded at www.rebuildingtogethervalparaiso.org. Applications should be turned in by Oct. 31 to Rebuilding Together-Valparaiso, 166 Lincolnway, Valparaiso, IN 46383. Those who don't have access to a computer and who can't leave home to get an application can have one mailed to their home by calling (219) 548-4827.
Rebuilding Together is the nation’s largest volunteer organization preserving and revitalizing low-income homes and communities. Since 1990, Rebuilding Together-Valparaiso, formerly known as Christmas in April, has brought volunteers together throughout the community to help approximately 300 elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners.