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Volunteers make free home repairs for vets

BELLEVUE, Ky. (Joe Webb) -- America's veterans honorably served their country and Thursday, July 24, a group of local volunteers returned the favor.

A small army of men and women from Home Depot stores partnered with "People Working Cooperatively" to work on veterans' homes.  Ray Muench, a 75-year-old Air Force veteran, lived in the same house in Bellevue since he was 4.  Parts of it were more than 100-years-old and showing its age. 

Muench was struggling to keep up, "I'm just on a fixed Social Security income. I spent as much money as I had and was able to spend it on things like getting the siding painted."
He reached out to the non-profit People Working Cooperatively and Muench wasn't alone.  Two years ago People Working Cooperatively noticed a growing number of veterans on their waiting list.

Ron Henlein from PWC said, "So we decided to start a campaign basically, called 'Ramp it up for veterans.'  These are individuals who are American heroes.  We don't believe any veteran should be on a waiting list."
The program served about 400 vets the first year, 700 last year.  Thursday, 75 volunteers were at nine different locations across the tri-state.  They worked on gutters, caulked to seal leaks and painted, lots of painting.  They weren't just volunteers; they were Home Depot employees with experience at fixing things.

Felicia Lynam of Home Depot said, "It's just a piece of what we do.  We love to get out here and help the people in the community."
A crew will be back in September to do follow-up work for Muench.  It's not cosmetics they are doing, it is work to make the house safe and make Ray independent.
He was very grateful, "As far as veterans are concerned, they are always telling everybody that they thank us for our service.  And the fact these people are considerate enough of me to come around here, I'm sincerely thanking all of them for their service."

Each of the nine homes were essentially adopted by a local Home Depot store.  The volunteers at Ray Muench's home were from the Crescent Springs Home Depot.  In the next week or so, the project will expand to a dozen homes and about 100 volunteers.

For the last 39 years, People Working Cooperatively has given low-income homeowners the help they need to stay in their homes and be independent.

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