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Hobart, Lake Station Rebuilding Together program repairs and replaces

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



HOBART — Rozanne Horn desperately needed new windows to replace the original ones that came with her 50-plus-year-old house.

“They were rotten, falling apart. I was afraid to open them up, afraid they’d fall out,” said Horn, who has lived in the house since 1963.

Thanks to an enterprising granddaughter, 13-year-old Breanna Horn of Valparaiso, who wrote a letter on her behalf to Rebuilding Together Hobart/Lake Station, and the volunteer organization, Horn had 14 new vinyl windows installed on Saturday.

Both the labor and windows were donated.

It was the first time Horn sought help from the organization, and she was thrilled with the results.

Volunteers Kevin Freeman and Mark Isolampi, both of Hobart, were on their fourth window by 11 a.m., when fellow volunteer David Burch, also of Hobart, joined them after working on another home.

Freeman, who has been with the program for 13 years, said volunteers would be doing such work as replacing windows, installing wheelchair ramps, putting in insulation, repairing roofs and doing electrical and miscellaneous repairs at 11 homes — seven in Hobart and four in Lake Station — during the day.

At the Hobart home of Brenda and Ed Rippe, Jason Strauss, of Hobart, was working with Rob Crawford, of Westville, and Crawford’s two sons, Chase, 14, and Caleb, 12, on building a wheelchair ramp for the Rippes’ 44-year-old daughter Karie Benson, who has multiple sclerosis.

Strauss said the ramp was a good-sized project for the four-person crew. It helped that Crawford is a union carpenter and that they put the posts in concrete a couple weeks before. The house was sponsored by Lowe’s, which provided a grant to cover some of the costs.

“My dad’s teaching us the trade,” Chase Crawford said as he helped his dad put in a section of wood.

His younger brother Caleb said he didn’t mind that he had to wake up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday to help. “I was looking forward to it,” he said.

Brenda Rippe said the four volunteers and the organization itself are “wonderful. They (volunteers) came two years ago and did some work. My daughter has MS and I asked them if they did this sort of thing (building wheelchair ramps). They said they would come.”

Strauss said people apply for the program, and recipients are chosen based on income and need. “If the need is just cosmetic, we can’t do it. It’s based on keeping people warm, safe and dry,” he said.   



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