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Volunteers spruce up homes of Lake County veterans
Lake County News-Sun - 9/25/2017
Sept. 24--Navy veteran Alex Jones said he was "overwhelmed and quite emotional" seeing a group of people making upgrades to his townhouse in North Chicago Saturday.
Inside the 54-year-old veteran's townhouse, new blinds and a doorbell were installed, a screen door was replaced and walls got a fresh coat of paint.
"These are things my health won't let me do," Jones said, adding that he was grateful for the assistance.
The group of 30 volunteers revamping Jones' townhouse, as well as the townhouse of 69-year-old Air Force veteran Adrian Jones, were North Shore Gas employees.
The North Shore Gas company partnered with the Community Action Partnership of Lake County agency to rehabilitate the two veterans' homes for the annual Home and Honor volunteer day. This is the second year of the program.
On Saturday, the unseasonably hot weather made digging in the dirt to install bushes and mulch outside the veterans' homes more challenging, but the volunteers weren't deterred and finished the job within hours, and then moved on to other tasks.
"It feels good to help make this a nice place for these veterans," said Al Weber, North Shore Gas area manager, after carefully guiding a caulk gun to seal Adrian Jones' bathroom sink.
The veterans watched their home be transformed, while plastic sheets blanketed their belongings to keep them from getting dirty.
Items, such as framed art and decorations that were donated by North Shore Gas employees, were also added to the veterans' decor.
"We like to give back to our community and to our customers," said Lori Flores Rolfson, North Shore Gas vice president of operations. "This partnership (with CAPOLC) is a perfect match to do that because of their strong veteran support."
CAPOLC annually serves 24,000 individuals in Lake County. The social service organization works through seven programs that included one providing long-term transitional housing for honorably discharged homeless veterans.
Adrian Jones said now that his home has been spruced up, he feels proud to invite family and friends to visit.
"I can invite the president now," he said.
On Saturday, assisting the volunteers were CAPOLC employees, who made sure the team members had everything they needed, including cold water to keep hydrated.
CAPOLC President William McNeely, said the vision of the North Shore Company to serve their customers and their community was admirable.
"They care," McNeely said. "If everybody did this, we'd have a lot less problems."
Yadira Sanchez Olson is a freelance reporter for the News-Sun.
(c)2017 the Lake County News-Sun (Lake County, Ill.)
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