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Valparaiso volunteers give neighbors a hand

Volunteers with Rebuilding Together strip roSaturday near Kirchoff Park Valparaiso one 16 projects undertaken around town. | Sun-Times Media

Volunteers with Rebuilding Together strip a roof Saturday near Kirchoff Park in Valparaiso, one of 16 projects undertaken around town. | Sun-Times Media

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For more on Rebuilding Together Valparaiso, go to http://www.rebuildingtogethervalparaiso.org.

Updated: May 14, 2014 6:13AM



VALPARAISO — Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Valparaiso descended on Janet Nolan’s home Saturday, cleaning up her yard, putting on a new garage door, fixing an outside faucet and repairing a toilet.

Nolan, who turns 80 in June and works in the housekeeping department at Porter Regional Hospital, said the volunteers have helped her out before with a new garage roof, a basement door, some new windows and other necessary repairs at her home in the 1000 block of Evans Avenue.

Her son and daughter live too far away to help her keep up her home, she said, and her granddaughter lives nearby but is busy with work and her family.

“They’re a wonderful group. I can’t thank them enough,” she said, rake in hand as she helped volunteers from Valparaiso University’s Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity clean up her yard. “You do what you can.”

About 200 volunteers tackled 16 projects around town in the 24th annual effort, geared toward keeping homes safe and accessible. Homeowners are selected based on their income and the scope of the work to be done, said Aaron Ingram, the group’s fundraising chairman.

“We try to do as much as we can. The emphasis is keeping them in their homes,” he said, adding churches, schools, local businesses, community groups and schools pitched in with the effort.

In the 600 block of Orchard Avenue near Kirchoff Park, volunteers, mostly with First United Methodist Church, stripped an old roof, repaired a fence and built a new front porch with a ramped walkway.

House captain Brett Dahlgren, who owns a handyman business, has been involved with Rebuilding Together for about 12 years.

“I enjoy working with other workers who don’t have the skill but have the desire to help,” he said, adding he likes giving them confidence in new abilities. “And I love helping the elderly because they’re on a fixed income.”



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