A local Vietnam veteran was delighted to learn how some volunteers chose to mark the anniversary of 9/11. They decided to begin much-needed repairs on his dilapidated home in Algiers.
"They came over and they took a look to see what the condition of the house was, so they were here. We definitely need help," said Durel Freeman outside his home in the 400 Block of Diana Street Thursday as workers scraped away years of old paint from the house.
It is Freeman's childhood home, and time has taken a toll on the house. Shrubs were growing well beyond their comfort zone. But it is not the passage of time that is responsible for Freeman's physical state. Crutches he slips his arms into help him walk. A violent 1992 mugging left him with stubborn head, back and spine injuries.
"I'm not physically able to do anything," said Freeman.
The kindness of strangers exceeds his own limitations.
"I love serving and giving back to the community," said Alex Grant, an AmeriCorps volunteer who was working on Freeman's house.
Rebuilding Together New Orleans partnered with Project Homecoming to get the work started on Freeman's home.
"After September 11, there were a lot of people coming together and a lot of people being creative in how they came together to serve" said Jon Skvarka, Director of Rebuilding Together New Orleans.
Bad conditions on the property caused are blamed for a fall Mr. Freeman took, according to the volunteers.
"Everything costs so doggone much it would be a financial burden on me to try to get people to do that work," said Freeman.
Skvarka said over the past 25 years, Rebuilding New Orleans Together has rehabilitated 1,400 projects, and that includes other veterans.
"I think it's a big blessing, a very big blessing," said Freeman.