Local veteran Tracey Huckeba was in desperate need of new gutters and a bathroom remodel at her home in Bagdad, so Veterans Rural Outreach (VRO) and Habitat for Humanity of Shelby County stepped in to help.
“I was told about the project by Lanette Allen, from my church,” explained Huckeba. “She submitted my name to Pam Carter with Habitat for Humanity. Pam came out and took some pictures and they accepted me into the program. So I got new gutters and a bathroom.”
According to VRO’s community coordinator, Jimmy Hatter, the project was a collaboration between their organization and Habitat. The nonprofit that builds homes provided funding for the project, while construction was headed by VRO’s project manager, Dwight Gwinn.
Pam Carter, executive director for Habitat for Humanity of Shelby County, said Habitat has been able to fund this and five other community projects for veterans through a grant provided by Home Depot.
“I apply for the grant a couple of times a year to service a veteran in our community,” Carter said. “I put it out publicly that we’re going to be taking nominations to provide repairs for a local veteran and I was given Tracey’s name because she had a bathroom she was not able to use.”
Once the grant had been approved by Home Depot, Habitat hired someone to replace the gutters and Pure Foam Installation volunteered their services to remove all the old insulation in the bathroom area. Then VRO came in to complete the rehabilitation. Carter explained that once these types of projects are complete and approved by the homeowner, Home Depot reimburses Habitat through the funds provided in their grant.
Huckeba said she really needed the new bathroom because everything was leaking and in disarray and unusable. She is grateful to Habitat’s willingness to accept her and fund the project and VRO’s efforts with the rehabilitation.
“It is amazing what they have done and the quality of work,” she said. “I have been really blessed by these great people.”
VRO manages Veterans Village and offers a community center in downtown Shelbyville next to the mini homes, but they also help veterans with utilities, food, emergency housing, home repairs and more. They have an outfitted tool trailer and hope to begin facilitating more repair projects for veterans in the area; however, while they have the tools and experience to lead the projects and donate labor, they need funding for materials from other individuals or organizations to help make such projects a reality.
If you are interested in learning more about VRO or Habitat for Humanity of Shelby County, you can reach out to them directly. VRO can be reached at 502-520-5300 or through their website at www.vroky.org. Habitat for Humanity of Shelby County can be reached at 502-633-5518 or www.shelbyhabitat.org.