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Volunteers help veteran renovate home

Lawrence Pierce
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Barry Jackson is a disabled veteran who couldn't afford to fix his Charleston home. He was helped Thursday by volunteers for Fifth Third Bank, Christ Church United Methodist and the charitable group Rebuilding Together.
Lawrence Pierce Volunteers repair and repaint Jackson's deck.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- All retired U.S. Army Sgt. Barry Jackson wanted was some help with his heating system.

"They volunteered to do all this other stuff," said Jackson, 60. "It's a blessing. It really is."

On Thursday, about 30 volunteers from Fifth Third Bank, Christ Church United Methodist and the charitable group Rebuilding Together came to Jackson's Charleston home to help with renovations. Volunteers cleaned up mold, put in new carpet, repaired and painted the deck and installed new double-pane windows.

Jackson served in the Army from 1984 to 1995. In 1991, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that required surgery and, eventually, left him disabled.

"I had a stroke about two years ago, and it really limited me," Jackson said.

Although he still works part-time, Jackson said he couldn't afford home renovations on his own. That's when Rebuilding Together stepped in.

"We renovate homes for low-income homeowners," said local organization president Dayton Carpenter.

"We did over 1,000 for Katrina," he said. "We're working now on Superstorm Sandy."

Rebuilding Together has 175 affiliates across the country, Carpenter said. The Charleston group, which covers Kanawha and Putnam counties, renovates between 100 and 150 homes a year.

Gretchen Bias, community development coordinator for Fifth Third Bank, said bank employees also volunteered to help Jackson. The project is part of the bank's Honoring Our Veterans program.

"We find it important to give back to people who have given to us," Bias said. She said Fifth Third, which has been in West Virginia since 2001 and in Charleston since 2004, was looking for a chance to help a local veteran.

Work on Jackson's house began about 8 a.m. Thursday. Volunteers hoped to finish up by the end of the day.

Reach Rusty Marks at rustymarks@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.


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