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“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down That Shed!”

December 29, 2016by Alissa Arnold

Elijah Tooles, a 98-year-old blind WWII veteran, was facing fines from the City of Cincinnati for a dangerously dilapidated shed on his property. He and his wife Tammie lacked the tools, manpower and money to take it down, so they turned to the United Way 2-1-1 helpline. United Way connected them with Easterseals Veteran Services, which initiated a collaboration with Easterseals YouthBuild and Building Value. A team of 10-15 workers deconstructed the shed in one day, saving Mr. and Mrs. Tooles thousands of dollars.

YB and WWII Vet

Read The Cincinnati Enquirer’s coverage, “WWII veteran gets by with a little help from friends.”

Mrs. Tooles could hardly believe her good fortune. She laughed as she described learning of the arrangement. “I said, ‘Is there a charge?’ He smiled and said, ‘No ma’am.’ I said, ‘You got to be kidding me.’”

The young adults spoke freely of their pride in being able to help a local veteran. “It makes me feel good. I like helping people out. I like making people smile,” said YouthBuild member Nathaniel O’Bryant.

This project improved community safety and property value, provided relief for a local veteran and his family, and created valuable work experience for young people overcoming barriers to completing their education and finding a career in construction.

The event received extensive local media coverage:

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