Remodeling a portion of a house can be very inconveniencing and stressful at times, to the homeowner, as well as expensive.
But for those on the construction side it is a chance to lend a helping hand and make someone’s home more attuned to their needs.
Rebuilding Together has been doing just that since 1988 and for long-time Bronx resident, David Gaymon Jr, the group’s work has made his family all the more excited about the upcoming holiday season.
Gaymon’s home had all the touches of family and comfort, but the back room of the house was in dire need of repairs.
“We got racoons, we got possums… skunks and everything was coming up in the room,” Gaymon said. “They were coming up through the holes someplace, making the whole house smell.”
The 64-year-old veteran served for two years in the Army before being medically discharged with hearing complications.
Gaymon also struggles to walk and uses a motorized wheelchair and stairlifts to get around.
Gaymon explained his predicament to personnel at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in Kingsbridge and they connected him with Rebuilding Together, who was all too ready to help.
As the volunteer work approaches week three of the project, a great deal of progress has clearly been made.
“The room was more like an [enclosed] aluminum sun porch so it didn’t actually have any foundation or [traditional] walls,” said Kimberly George, the executive director of Rebuilding Together NYC. “So what we’re doing here is we removed the aluminum and we’re building an actual room.”
Along with creating a sturdy and sealed foundation, the project has also called for wider door frames with doors that swing in both directions so Gaymon can get in and out of the room in his wheelchair without help.
There is also a plan to move the family’s washing machine and dryer into the new room and out of their kitchen where it currently sits.
The organization runs a workforce training program that spends half its time in a classroom and the remining half on construction sites helping the Rebuilding Together team with projects like the one for Gaymon’s house.
A Rebuilding Together construction team is usually comprised of both experienced and newer builders and at the Gaymon’s home project the new students have been sent to get their first taste of field work.
“This is what we do, we work, even when it’s cold and I’m excited to be here,” said Terry Scott, the director of construction of Rebuilding Together NYC.
For this project and many like it, Scott and the Rebuilding Together team have tried to make the stress of construction and home improvement enjoyable for both the workers and the families they help, by holding a group cheer with the workers that literally starts with yelling, “I’m fired up.”
But for Gaymon and his family, having them there has been like having freinds around.
“I appreciate it so much,” Gaymon added.
The project is expected to be completed before Christmas according to Scott.