Martin Luther King Day is known as a day of service (a day on, not a day off) to encourage volunteerism. This past Monday the team at Rebuilding Together Montgomery County took on the task of serving Ms. S, a neighbor in need of home clutter removal—recycling, trash and donations. We loaded up two trucks worth of items Ms. S had long intended to clear out. She now has much more space to move around her home, and a significantly reduced risk of tripping on these items or hurting herself trying to move them.
While helping, the team learned about Ms. Smith’s 35 years of working for the Treasury Department and her experience crafting two 11-tier wedding cakes right from her own home! Client outreach coordinator, Joni Keaton, stated “Ms. Smith is an incredibly sweet woman. One of the first things she emphasized needing help with was clearing out boxes and clutter that had piled up, and we stepped in to make sure this got done. Even with masks on, you could tell everyone was smiling the entire time!” Thanks to their help, Ms. Smith’s home is safer.
“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve”
— Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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.”
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.”
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!
We are elated to share with you that Jerry Liu, a 30-year volunteer with Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, has been recognized as the 2020 Rebuilding Together Volunteer of the Year!
Jerry was chosen from nominees submitted by 120+ Rebuilding Together affiliates across the US.There is no one more deserving of this recognition than Jerry. In his three decades of service with RTMC, Jerry has proven himself to be a stellar and resourceful volunteer.
Jerry is truly a jack of all trades and has done everything from coordinating construction projects to providing ongoing counsel to our team. He’s served as a board member, a team captain, and a lead generator.
Jerry maintains a humble and unassuming demeanor in his various roles, with a laser-focus dedication to helping the people he serves. He approaches his service with a smile, and he infects all of us with his positive energy and passion for a “neighbor-helping-neighbor” approach to solving community issues.
No one can count the number of hours Jerry has committed towards our cause. He’s given his all towards helping the low-income residents of Montgomery County. Jerry is the epitome of a community leader.
On behalf of everyone involved with RTMC, we congratulate Jerry on his recognition. We thank him for his efforts, and we look forward to working with him for many more years to come.
Our project at the Emanuel House in Gaithersburg is wrapping up this week! This home will provide young adult mothers and their children with a permanent, supportive housing solution with guidance and support from other community partners as they work towards self-sufficiency. Through the work of professional contractors and volunteers donating countless hours, the house is now a home. We created separate “units” of bedrooms and a bathroom for each family and updated the common kitchen and living space for shared use. Volunteers installed new flooring, painted throughout the house, rebuilt the back decks, and addressed numerous handyman tasks to create a safe and welcoming environment for the families.
Now that our work is complete, the house is being decorated and furnished, and the first family will move in next week! It was an honor for us to have played a role in this fantastic project that will benefit the community for generations to come. Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers and partners for all the work and love that has gone into the Emanuel House.
We have many more projects that need our attention. We can rebuild more homes through your support and give our low-income neighbors a healthy and safe place to live. Please consider supporting our work.