“Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down That Shed!”
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.
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: