Soldiers are trained to not leave their comrades behind on the battlefield. That commitment shouldn't be relinquished by the public once combat veterans return from war, say supporters of housing solution organization
Purple Heart Homes.
The City of South Euclid is partnering with the North Carolina-based nonprofit to build a home for Clevelander Demond Taylor, a veteran of the U.S. campaign in Iraq now suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The city, along with Purple Heart Homes, One South Euclid Community Development Corporation, and the Cuyahoga Land Bank, will renovate the home located at 1171 Avondale Road. While Purple Heart Homes was founded in 2008 by two Iraq combat veterans, the idea to use their services locally was that of retired South Euclid service director and Vietnam veteran Ed Gallagher, says director of community services Keith Ari Benjamin.
The home has not been lived in for several years and needs new windows, flooring, interior walls, plumbing and more. South Euclid is taking cash donations as well as in-kind donations like paint. Contractors willing to help rebuild the home on a volunteer basis are also needed
South Euclid held a mission kickoff event on Monday, November 12, with the eventual aim of raising $60,000 to $70,000 to refurbish the house. The program drew over 100 people, some of whom have already stepped forward to give of their money or time. "It's great to see so many folks wanting to get involved, but we're going to need more," says Benjamin.
South Euclid has set up a website
and Facebook page
for those wanting to contribute. Purple Heart Homes immediately contributed $20,000, which will allow work on the house to begin as soon as next week. Construction should be completed by the spring.
The city has implemented several home rehab projects since the housing crisis began. Says Benjamin, It's an honor for South Euclid to give the dream of home ownership to someone who's sacrificed so much.
"Our goal is to welcome veterans like Demond," he says. "We want to take care of him like he took care of us when he served our country."
SOURCE: Keith Ari Benjamin
WRITER: Douglas J. Guth