Vet­eran gets home im­prove­ments cour­tesy of Habi­tat

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By HAN­NAH TROYER Edi­tor

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.”

HAN­NAH TROYER

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.

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