Home help for Veterans

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SARASOTA COUNTY - A new program with Habitat for Humanity looks to help local veterans get home repairs done for free. It's called the Legacy of Valor Veterans Repair Project.

Typically you might find habitat organizations like the one in south Sarasota County building entire homes for those looking for a hand up. The new program though is doing smaller jobs. "Maybe they need the house painted or calking around the windows. Perhaps a door replaced or a ramp. Maybe some yard sprucing up," says Executive Director Judy Wilcox.

It's not for everyone. "We are looking for veterans who own their own home and income qualify."

The South County Habitat and the four other local organizations in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, and Desoto counties teaming up with the Paterson Foundation to offer the free help. "It is a big community effort. Very exciting. I would like to think every person will be touched in some way or another by this initiative."

In an area full of Veterans they hope to find as many as they can. It might not be easy. "They just don't want to admit there is a little problem." Ron Larrivee heads AmVets Post 312 in North Port. With more than 800 members he says the need is there but vets are prideful and might not be willing to ask for help. "We have to talk to them and say look you earned this. We are here not to give you something. We are here to help you. If you need some help that is what we are for."

A simple gesture to help those who help keep us free says Wilcox. "We are there to help support and to make their lives better. To try and thank them for all they have done for this country."

In a separate program the South County Habitat for Humanity is building entire homes for Veterans. One in North Port and one in Laurel.

If you are a vet or know one who could use help all you have to do is contact your local Habitat office and ask them about the project. You can call the South County office at 941-493-6606.