Lisa Groendal-Fitchena remembers growing up in the house on the corner. Her family moved there when she was only a year old. Her mother and father, a World War II veteran who is now 92 years old, still live there today. Lisa and her siblings have struggled for years to keep them there, in the place they’ve called home for half a century.
“It’s been a challenge,” says Lisa. “We’ve done as much as we can, with as many resources as we can find, to keep them in this house.”
Mission accomplished. Lisa learned of a new resource in the last year: Habitat’sRepair Corps program. Through a partnership between Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and The Home Depot Foundation, Repair Corps teams were able to make the Groendal home safe and comfortable for Leon and Loretta, Lisa’s aging parents.
Lisa learned about Repair Corps through her uncle, a Vietnam veteran who himself learned about the program at the VA. When she helped her father apply, they were simply hoping for repairs on the furnace (which was the original unit, installed when the house was built in the 1960s). They were stunned by Habitat’s response: in addition to replacing the furnace, the Repair Corps program, in partnership with Team Depot, The Home Depot’s associate-led volunteer force, would build an exterior ramp, replace the windows, add insulation in the basement and overhaul some of the plumbing and electrical work.
“It’s a new house now,” says Lisa. With the ramp, coming and going becomes a lot simpler for her father; and with the new windows and insulation, staying warm in the winter will cost a lot less. This means that he can focus on what he really loves: keeping up with all his veteran friends. “He really loved his planes,” says Lisa, and he loves keeping in contact with veterans of all eras that share that connection.
“We’re so grateful for all these improvements,” says Lisa. “It’s great to see that there are companies and people out there really looking out for the veterans that have served our country.”