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Habitat Breaks Ground on Veterans' Project
Chaptico, MD - 1/7/2012
By Marty Madden
A local Marine is about to get a helping hand from an army of volunteers. On Friday, Jan. 6, Patuxent Habitat for Humanity (PHH) conducted a ground breaking ceremony at a Chaptico residence. The project will be the first in the local organization’s Gary Senese Memorial Veteran Repair Corps Program. The project’s goal is to renovate and expand to Getscher family’s home in order to accommodate Marine Lance Corporal Caleb Getscher, who was wounded in Afghanistan last summer. The young Marine is currently undergoing rehabilitation at Bethesda Naval Hospital.
According to PHH Executive Director Pamela Shubert, the construction of an accessible room for Caleb and a garage for his vehicle is expected to take 12 to 16 weeks. Shubert said last fall the organization applied for and received a $100,000 “Repair Corps” grant from The Home Depot Foundation. The local chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars subsequently contacted her about Caleb. The Getscher project is the first in what Shubert hopes will be 10 projects to help the Patuxent area’s military veterans.
Habitat for Humanity requires project participation from the beneficiaries and Shubert indicated Caleb’s family and friends are prepared to join with hundreds of other volunteers to get the job done.
“We’ll have a couple hundred volunteers,” said Shubert. “Some local Mennonites and Seabees from Pax River have volunteered.” She added the septic field required for the expansion has been completed and the permit process will take another two weeks. Once that hurdle has been completed the work can start. Asked whether a heavy snowfall could challenge the project, Shubert replied, “it depends whether it’s under frame.”
Nearly 20 businesses and entities have contributed monetary and volunteer support to the project as well.
“This was easy to make a decision for us to get involved with,” said Pete Green of Wyle Aerospace Group, one of the project’s corporate sponsors. “We feel a close kinship with wounded warriors.”
The project also received $600 from the family’s friends at Mechanicsville Elementary School. “I just put a jar in the school office and then the jar just started to fill up,” said Jamie Smith, who indicated she wanted to help out the Getscher family.
“This is a great day for the Marine community,” said PHH Board of Directors member Dan Doherty. The local program serves as a tribute to Senese, a military veteran, Compton resident and PHH volunteer, who died last August at the age of 64. Members of Senese’s family also attended the ceremony. “Gary was an extraordinary volunteer,” said Doherty, who requested a moment of silence. “Let’s remember our veterans who have passed.”
“We’ll continue to support the project and all our veterans,” said County Commissioner Daniel L. Morris [R-District 2], who told the crowd he is proud Marine veteran.
Shubert said two other local veterans have been identified for subsequent projects. Anyone who knows of a military veteran living in St. Mary’s or Calvert counties with a need for PHH’s help is asked to contact the organization’s office at 301-863-6227 or 410-326-9050.
“I got to get myself better, but I’m getting stable,” said Caleb, who indicated when his long rehabilitation was over he would like to get a job in a military-related capacity. He noted his father works at Patuxent Naval Air Station in aircraft maintenance and he might like to pursue a similar career. “There are a lot of opportunities for that,” he said.
Caleb marveled at the community’s response to aid him. “I’m happy to see they have a part in this,” he said. “It’s astonishing to see how much they care.”
For more information on PHH visit www.patuxenthabitat.org.
Contact Marty Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org
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