With Veterans Day this Friday, it’s around this time people recognize and remember the sacrifices veterans have made to ensure the safety of us all. Recently, a local organization reciprocated its thankfulness by providing a Korean War veteran with no-cost home repairs and accessibility modifications.
Rebuilding Together of Arlington, Fairfax and Falls Church, a local nonprofit organization teamed up with the area’s global security and aerospace company, Lockheed Martin, last month to help John Rinehart and his wife Delia fix up their home of more than 35 years.
A Korean War veteran, Mr. Rinehart has trouble with his hips and legs which require him to use a wheelchair and walker, being why making exterior and interior modifications and repairs were important for the couple to safely navigate around their home.
Patti Klein, the executive director of Rebuilding Together, said the organization’s mission is to “repair homes, revitalize communities and rebuild lives.” As one of 120 affiliates across the nation, Klein the groups make “critical home repairs and accessibility modifications at no cost” for low income homeowners, with a focus on older adults, persons with disabilities, families with children and veterans.
Rebuilding Together was put in contact with the Rineharts after Mrs. Rinehart called into it and completed an application. After visiting the Rineharts’ home and doing a site assessment on it, Klein said seeing Mr. Rinehart’s various health issues and Mrs. Rinehart’s dedication to her husband as his caretaker inspired the Rebuilding Together team to provide a “safer and healthier” place for the both of them to live in.
“They are both just dynamic, wonderful people,” Klein said. “You just wanted to be able to help them because they’re doing their best.”
Prior to partnering up with Lockheed Martin, Klein said Rebuilding Together rebuilt and framed the Rinehart’s porch, while placing a ramp in as well. This allowed both Mr. and Mrs. Rinehart to be able to use their porch without a worry of a fall or injury, as well as make it easier for Mr. Rinehart to be able to leave the house in a safe manner using the ramp. When the Lockheed Martin volunteers came to help, they were able to put in the decking for the porch and railing for the ramp.
Due to Mrs. Rinehart’s love of gardening, both Rebuilding Together and Lockheed Martin made sure her potted plants were arranged at the front of the house to make it look “really nice.”
Repairs and modifications made inside the home included putting in grab bars in the bathroom and a Comfort Height Toilet, which makes it easier for senior citizens to use the restroom. A “SuperPole” was placed in Mr. Rinehart’s bedroom so that he could grab onto it and pull himself out of bed without any struggle. Volunteers also scraped the foundation of the house and painted over it.
Future repairs and modifications to the Rineharts’ home are still in the works, according to Klein. Resetting tiles on the back stoop, repainting one of the Rineharts’ sheds, putting new house numbers and various other tasks will be done by volunteers of Rebuilding Together and Lockheed Martin in the near future.
Klein said the overall impact of repairing the Rineharts’ home on both the Rineharts and Rebuilding Together is “knowing that you’re helping somebody in the community that has done so much for the community.” As Mr. Rinehart had served in the military twice and Mrs. Rinehart worked for years at hospitals and doctors offices, Klein stated both Rineharts were doing “great things” in the community and being able to go to their home to make sure they were safer in their home was “huge.”
Throughout the time spent by both organizations, Klein said she believes the organization “got more out” of the experience of repairing the Rineharts’ home due to Mr. and Mrs. Rinehart being “kind-hearted people” and were “so gracious.” Klein went on to mention how Mrs. Rinehart cooked for the volunteers while they were working and grabbed the volunteers hands to walk them around and show her appreciation. Although Mr. Rinehart could not come out often due to his health issues, at one point Klein was able to open the front door so Mr. Rinehart could wave to the volunteers.
Since receiving the home repairs and modifications, Mr. and Mrs. Rinehart both stated Rebuilding Together and Lockheed Martin have had a “great impact” on them and their home. Before either organization came to help, Mrs. Rinehart said she had sold her life insurance in order to provide her husband a bathtub he was able to use. They both expressed how thankful they were to both Rebuilding Together and Lockheed Martin based on the improvements made to their home.
“They are wonderful people,” Mr. Rinehart said. “I couldn’t ask for any better.”
We never, never dreamed in our life that we would have this kind of opportunity,” Mrs. Rinehart added. “It’s like a miracle.”