Evanston, OH, December 29, 2016
Elijah Tooles, a 98-year-old blind WWII veteran, was facing fines from the City of Cincinnati for a dangerously dilapidated shed on his property. He and his wife Tammie lacked the tools, manpower and money to take it down, so they turned to the United Way 2-1-1 helpline. United Way connect them with Easterseals Veteran Services, which initiated a collaboration with Easterseals YouthBuild. A team of 10-15 young workers deconstructed the shed in one day.
Mrs. Tooles could hardly believe her good fortune. She laughed as she described learning of the arrangement. “I says, ‘Is there a charge?’ He said, ‘No ma'am.’ I said, ‘You got to be kidding me.’”
The young adults spoke freely of their pride in being able to help a local veteran. “It makes me feel good. I like helping people out. I like making people smile,” said YouthBuild member Nathaniel O'Bryant.
This project improved community safety and property value, provided relief for a local veteran and his family, and created valuable work experience for young people overcoming barriers to completing their education and finding a career in construction.
The event received extensive local media coverage: