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A New Roof Over Old Memories: Checking in with Paul through the Veteran Repair Program

A veteran man standing in front of his newly repaired home.

Paul first moved into his Loveland home in 1965 after serving for two years in the US Army. He was in the 34th Armor at Fort Knox. "I spent the whole two years down there," Paul said. "I got lucky." Paul has been retired since 1991 from GM, where he worked as an assembler. "I loved it, you were doing something different every day."

Paul grew up in the very neighborhood that he still lives in today. It's also the same neighborhood where he met his wife of 62 years. "We played softball and went swimming in the ponds," Paul said. "Next thing you know we just started dating." The two of them shared this home together until she passed away.

When Paul needed a new roof and gutters on his house, he reached out to Habitat for Humanity Greater Cincinnati. Paul's repairs were funded by the Disabled Veterans National Foundation. Paul heard about our Veteran Repair Program through his sister. She also partnered with the Repair Program to replace her aging roof. His sister told him to give us a call, and Paul says he's so thankful he did.

Paul says his "gutters had pinholes all the way through here and when it rained real hard, from one end to the other you could see the water just dripping out of the bottom of the gutters." He describes having leaks inside too that would come down the wall and pool in his basement. Untreated, water damage can have devastating consequences for a house and can lead to safety risks for residents. Habitat for Humanity's repair team fixed the damage, tore off his old shingles and gutters, and replaced them with new ones.

A veteran man looking to the sky in front of his house.

"They really did a good job. It's been really good," said Paul. "I didn’t know how I was going to get a new roof and gutters put on."

Paul has too many memories in his home of almost 60 years for him to leave. "Everybody came to this place," Paul said. When he and his wife moved in, their house became the hangout spot. "All the family would get together. My family would get together Christmas Day and [my wife's] family would come Christmas Eve." There were 13 children in his family and 12 in his wife's, so his family gatherings were big. Together, the two families made two softball teams and they would play against each other frequently. Paul told us they used square rocks as bases and that he has fond memories of their games. Today, he still enjoys rooting on the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.

Paul remembers growing tomatoes with his wife in their yard. "I used to plant me a little garden out here," he told us, pointing to a space in his yard. He said that his wife got all of their plants from a local shop. "[The plants] grew all the way to the porch, and we had tomatoes all the way up to November." His dad loved tomatoes, so he canned tomatoes for both his and his wife's families. He told us, "You miss all that stuff once it stops."

We left Paul sitting on his porch where he told us he spends a lot of his time. "I come out here and sit. They told me I should give up my coffee and I said 'ain't no way.'"

Paul has no plans to leave his house or neighborhood, so he's grateful he gets to stay in his home, surrounded by memories of his wife and family. "I'll probably die right here... Habitat is really nice," said Paul. "I'm really appreciative of what they did."


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