Small army of volunteers helps Hobart, Lake Station homeowners
By Matt Mikus firstname.lastname@example.org September 28, 2013 11:46PM
Mary Troutman, right, and Paul Mock of Hobart install roofing shingles to a Lake Station home on Saturday, September 28, 2013, as part of Rebuilding Together. | Michael Gard/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 30, 2013 6:58AM
HOBART — Community members throughout Hobart and Lake Station came together Saturday to help renovate houses in disrepair.
The Hobart and Lake Station branch of Rebuilding Together met early in the morning at Trinity Lutheran School and Church, receiving their assignments and heading out to work for the day.
More than 50 volunteers gave their time and expertise to help, said the Rev. Gary Nagy, with 11 houses to work on.
Rebuilding Together requires that those receiving help meet certain requirements, including owning their own home, not owing any taxes on the property, and meet income restrictions. After applying, a member will come by for a home visit to see what work needs to be done.
The group often receives more applications than it can complete each year, so it tries to refer jobs to other organizations and government departments for help.
“The attitude is you don’t just walk away,” said volunteer Judy Hevel of Hobart, “you try to get them help somehow.”
The organization has been working on houses throughout the community for more than 15 years, said Janet Deal, one of the founding board members of the organization.
“It’s just a labor of love,” Deal said, recalling some of the houses they worked on in the beginning.
Dave Ledyard, the president of the chapter, said the group often tries to help the elderly, families and veterans.
“The goal is to try to make their home warm, safe and dry,” Ledyard said.
Besides volunteers, local businesses from Subway to Hobart Lumber contribute by offering supplies, and many local unions, from carpenters to electricians, offered their expertise.
Volunteers worked to make the house of Nelson and Iris Flores more wheelchair accessible by installing a barrier-free shower and expanding the back door to allow Iris’ wheelchair to exit.
Sally and Keith Sarfaty of Lake Station watched as a team of 10 volunteers installed new doors on the front and back of the house, as well as the bedroom. They also saw new floors installed and rooms painted.
Sally Sarfaty said she and her husband fell into tough times when both faced medical issues and were glad to receive the support from Rebuilding Together.
“We were just living from paycheck to paycheck,” Sarfaty said. “None of this work would have gotten done without their help. I’m just as happy as I could be right now.”
Katherine Kyle of Lake Station received new doors, new trim around her windows, and fixes from a botched job conducted by contractors that cut out a floor joist while trying to do work around the toilet.
“They’re taking their time and they’re very thorough,” Kyle said. “It’s a big improvement. It doesn’t even look like the same house.”
Dorothy Nafus, 70, of Lake Station received new shingles on her roof, with work provided by Scott Fekete and his crew at Fekete Roofing. The work on Nafus’ house started Friday morning, with crews breaking just after 1 p.m. and returning to finish the job Saturday.
“You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this,” Nafus said.