Veteran gets home improvements courtesy of Habitat
After serving his coun- try, community and fellow veterans for years, Prince George’s County Veteran’s Commissioner, Fred Nordhorn, was helped in a big way.
After three weeks of continual renovation, Nordhorn’s new Habitat for Humanity- updated home was dedicated March 26. Members from Habitat for Humanity of Metro Maryland, crew members and neighbors gathered to celebrate the occasion.
“We are not the “move that bus people.” Our program focuses on two areas — code violations so people don’t get fined and health and safety concerns,” Sarah Reddinger, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Maryland director of program services, said. “So we don’t do upgrades or high end finishes. We’re really focusing on going into a home and figuring out what we can do to make it a healthy and safe place for its residents.”
Nordhorn applied for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Maryland’s help about a year ago – applying for repair work. Habitat for Humanity was most concerned about the air quality in the home. Five years ago, a large amount of cats were living on the property. Nordhorn has been trying to improve the house ever since.
Starting March 5, Team Rubicon, a mostly veteran-led disaster relief organization, tore out the floors and removed the plaster in the bedroom and kitchen. Volunteers then came in and replaced the subfloor and flooring, hung drywall, painted, installed new cabinets, countertops, kitchen appliances and windows. A new furnace and air conditioning unit were also installed.
TW Perry, a building materials supplier, donated around $40,000 worth of supplies to the home.
The renovations project was the largest this branch of Habitat for Humanity has done. Thanks to the hard work of approximately 50 volunteers, Nordhorn is finally able to enjoy his “healthy” home.
“I’m very glad. I really am. I just wish one person was here, my girlfriend, but she’s been in the hospital since Feb. 1,” Nordhorn said. “But, when she walks in, I want to see the expression on her face. I can’t wait to sit back with her in the new house and enjoy it and not have to worry about the health issues it was causing us.”
Nordhorn, a six-year Vietnam-era Army veteran, is a staple among the veteran community in Prince George’s County. Nordhorn has served on the Prince George’s County Commission for Veterans the past nine years. Most recently, he was responsible for getting makeup companies to participate in Washington, D.C.’s VA Winter Haven Standdown event.
He also helps veterans find grants and programs that apply to them.
“I cant even comprehend (what they have done.) In a way, I feel like my work in the community hasn’t even repaid what Habitat has done for me to be honest,” Nordhorn said. “I don’t even know where to start.”
As part of the house dedi- cation, attendees were able to enjoy some barbeque together and Nordhorn was able to raise the American Flag on his newly created flagpole in his front yard.
Habitat for Humanity of Metro Maryland Executive Director, John Paukstis, was also present at the dedication. As a fellow veteran, Paukstis is pleased with the work the organization is doing to help veterans and others in the community.
“A lot of people talk about trying to help veterans and we are doing it. But, we need to do more,” Paukstis said. “It feels good to help a veteran who has served. He’s a good person trying to keep his life active and help other people. This is about community. All of us helping each other and being kind to each other and making our lives as full as we can.”
Habitat for Humanity of Metro Maryland is so in demand by others in the community looking for aid, the application cycle has been closed for six months. But, Reddinger, is relieved to give another one of the organization’s clients an improved, healthy home.
“A project like this – it just feels good to get it finished. When (he) walks around the home for years to come, (Fred) may see a brush stroke here, a piece of trim that isn’t quite straight there. (The) house isn’t perfect,” Reddinger said. “It’s healthy, but not perfect. But, I can bet it was renovated with more heart than most in this community.”
Fred Nordhorn, a veteran and commissioner on the Prince George’s County Commission for Veterans, addresses a crowd of volunteers and neighbors at his Habitat for Humanity home dedication March 26.