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Veterans Day Profile: John R.

Rebuilding Together Montgomery County (RTMC) believes that all veterans in our community deserve a safe and healthy home to live in. However, the sad reality is that after serving our country and risking their lives for our freedoms, many veterans are left to retire in unsafe, insecure, and unstable homes all across Montgomery County. 

It is our mission to change that outcome.

This Veterans Day, we are happy to introduce you to John R., a Montgomery County resident, veteran, friend and recent client of RTMC. When John reached out to us, his home had a leaking roof that was in dire need of replacement. Thanks to our Safe and Healthy Homes Program, and generous donations from the local community, John received a brand new roof. “Rebuilding Together’s work relieved a lot of stress for me at a time when I was dealing with many health and financial challenges,” John says. “It was very important for me to stay in my home, where I’ve lived for 34 years.”

Veterans Day Profile

John in uniform.

RTMC takes pride in helping homeowners like John who have lived in Montgomery County for most of their lives. At the age of two, he and his family moved to Silver Spring where his father opened a barbershop located on Colesville Road, right next to the AFI Silver Theater. “Montgomery County was much different back then,” he says. “You could get a haircut at my father’s shop for 25 cents, then go next door to AFI to see a movie for 10 cents!”

After graduating high school, John was drafted into the U.S. Army and went on to the Army Signal Corps School where he graduated fourth in his class. He would quickly grow the ranks and eventually became a sergeant. John recalls that “they wanted to make me a master sergeant, but I was having issues with my back and did not extend my service.”

Both John and RTMC feel strongly about Veterans Day and believe it’s an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made by those who served. John adds, “Many were drafted, served, and lived, but many were also drafted and died. We should honor all branches of the military. Everyone who has served should be respected.”

Veterans Day Profile

John today.

RTMC still works closely with John and his family because there’s more work to be done, but our efforts have made a difference, and John is optimistic. “People helping each other in both small and large ways really does matter. You never know when you are going to need help. I am very grateful to all those that have helped me.”

It’s an honor to serve those who have served for us. John, who is now 88 years old, will be able to live the rest of his life in the house he’s long known as home. While John’s story shares our program’s success, many more veterans in Montgomery County still need our help. If you’re feeling inspired on this day of remembrance and reflection, we hope you will join us in honoring veteran homeowners in our community like John.

Happy Veterans Day!

Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather

We’re already halfway through November, and the temperature is starting to cool a bit. Now is the time to make sure that your house is ready for the wind and snow.

Plumbing: Did you drain water from the outdoor faucets and from any pipes that might be exposed to the cold? If you’ve ever had a pipe burst, you know about this!

Gutters: Take one last look and make sure you’ve gotten all the leaves out. Remember these two words: Ice dams.

Heating system: Did you clean and replace the filters, vacuum the vents, and make sure to seal the ducts properly? It takes more than just switching from AC to Heat. It’s best to have a service contract — they’ll inspect and change everything over, and if there’s a problem, they can fix it.

Doors and Windows: Don’t forget to remove the screens and install the storm windows and doors! If the weather stripping is loose or worn, replace it (install it if you haven’t already). Ensure the gaps around windows, doors, pipes, and vents are caulked and check to make sure the seals are still sound. Also, check for broken and cracked glass.

Essential Items: Get the de-icer. Make sure you’ve got a good snow shovel, scraper, and brush for the car windows (and it wouldn’t hurt to have one of those little shovels tucked away in the trunk). If and when the next snow days come, don’t go crazy shoveling. People rarely freeze, but health safety is a concern. Pace yourself and be safe on the ice!