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Families most vulnerable to COVID-19 get critical repairs to safely shelter at home

Posted at 9:48 AM, Nov 13, 2020

DENVER, Co. – The Durans' home is a family treasure. It’s been passed down through three generations.

“My grandparents started this house and he finished it,” said Linda Duran of her father, Gerald Duran.

“You name it, I did it,” laughed the Korean War Veteran about the hundreds of hours he’s poured into the family home over the years.

This home not only represents a wonderful building achievement, but it’s a place where laughter and memories have been shared every single day. Stories of war, stories about school days and all that life brings in between.

As their family grew, the home expanded.

“I built this, I built that,” said Gerald pointing around the property. “With help, you know, you cannot do anything without help.”

This year, Linda and her dad found their family needing a little help with their home once again.

“There were a lot of things that needed work and especially, the safety,” said Linda.

The outside doors didn’t close or lock, and the kitchen didn’t have working appliances. But COVID-19 made those repairs impossible to pay for after Linda lost her job.

“Can't do anything anymore hardly,” said Gerald. “I want to go to bingo. No, I ain't got no money. Got to buy groceries. That's what's hard. That's what gets hard.”

“You're not able to do the things you used to be able to do afford, because being on a fixed income and no income is detrimental,” said Linda.

So, she reached out for help.

“It’s an awful feeling because I’m not no spring chicken, so I just feel like, ‘Gosh at this point in my life, I should be able to help him more than I am,’” said Linda.

A nonprofit called Rebuilding Together answered her prayers. The nationwide group connects contractors and volunteers willing to donate work and supplies for critical home repairs in their own communities.

“The majority of people we help are older Americans, veterans or people with disabilities, and so they’re supposed to stay at home and shelter at home, and it’s kind of hard to do that if it’s not safe in their house,” said Jodie Liddy, who works with volunteers across Denver, Colorado. Tim Crossen has worked in the construction business for years. He was happy to volunteer his skills for this family and others, especially right now. “In a year where there is so much negativity, there is so much opportunity to do something about that,” Crossen said. He installed brand new doors and locks on the family’s home, making the home secure for the first time in a while. “Just to able to fall asleep and not have to worry about somebody coming in,” saisd Linda. “You don't have to sleep out on the front to make sure that that doesn't happen.” “I thought, ‘Oh my god, this poor woman has to try and defend her home,’” said Crossen. “That made me feel very good we could do that.”

The family also got brand new kitchen appliances, so they can cook full meals for everyone at one time.

“This house was built on secondhand stuff,” said Gerald. “Now, we're getting the good stuff,” said the thankful veteran.

These repairs mean so much more than just a door or an oven.

“We’re just so appreciative that there are people out there who are willing to help other people, because not everybody can afford to do these things, so it’s nice that there are people that care,” said Linda.

It's an act of kindness needed now more than ever, giving a family hope that the legacy built within their four walls will never be lost.