Rehab Rebuilders in Montgomery County

May 10, 2022
by Tish King, Board Member at Rebuilding Together National

Mr. P. is a former music student who as a young man lost four fingers in an industrial accident in the 1960s. With numerous health concerns himself and declining mobility, he nursed his beloved wife through the last ten years of her life as she faced the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.

At the same time, their family home was damaged by repeated flooding from stormwater runoff, regularly filling the basement with up to 24 inches of water, causing dangerous rotting to the wooden steps and necessitating the replacement of costly appliances.

Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, Md. connected Mr. P. with a remarkable group of volunteers captained by Andra Henning of Adventist HealthCare Rehabilitation. They call themselves the “Rehab Rebuilders” and built a partnership with Forrester Construction to provide skilled expertise, supplies and repairs to help Mr. P. live safely at home.The Rehab Rebuilders were nice enough to let me join them in tackling a long list of repairs on National Rebuilding Day. Along with house cleaning by a team of no less than 12 people over the course of several days, they provided numerous safety measures all at no cost including:

  • Grab bars in both bathrooms and a transfer tub bench
  • New stairs with railings to the basement
  • Fire extinguisher and smoke alarms
  • Railing and carpet strips for steps to second floor
  • New kitchen cabinets
  • Landscape improvements

Now that it’s safe to use the basement steps again, repair of the damaged window well and waterproofing is starting. I can hardly wait to go back to see the progress and visit with Mr. P. again.

When asked what music he likes (given his collection of hundreds of vinyl records), the answer was anything classical or Reggae, in memory of his Jamaican wife. One of the volunteers found a great Caribbean playlist to share on her phone while we worked. I lost track of the ways Mr. P. expressed his gratitude thanking everyone for transforming his home to make it possible to enjoy the view to his backyard and admire his wife’s collected treasures in the living room. But I vividly recall the gift of him sharing his life story and his own generous spirit.

That weekend, I was just one of more than 700 volunteers providing critical repairs to 23 homes in Montgomery County, Md. It was a powerful reminder of the importance and impact of our work on a national, local and personal level. Reggae hereafter will be a reminder to cherish those with whom we live and build our homes.