NILES, Ohio – Carol Walker has a lot on her plate. She’s taking care of her 11-year-old grandson and helping him with schoolwork due to remote learning, while also helping to take care of her disabled son. The state of her property was a concern, but not one that she could handle.
That was until United Way of Trumbull County decided to help clean up her yard and exterior of the house. On Friday, a team from TEMA Roofing Services arrived around 10:30 a.m.
The four-man group tackled everything from cleaning the gutters to trimming trees to raking leaves.
“When I saw this, I said ‘Thank you, Jesus. Thank you, Lord.’ I see everybody else doing their own. I’m here, almost 80, and I can’t do it,” Walker said. “Otherwise it would have stayed like this all winter.”
Walker has raised her grandson since he was an infant. He was placed in foster care in Florida, prompting Walker to fly south to bring him to Ohio.
Walker also supports her son, who was placed on disability after doctors found water in his skull. The condition came out of nowhere a year ago – no accident or illness the family can recall – and prevented Walker’s son from working.
“I was able to get some food stamps,” Walker said. “It’s just me and my grandson and I have a lot left over. My son’s disabled, so I give some to him too.”
The United Way @ Work program started in the mid-2000s but was discontinued. Ginny Pasha, president of the United Way of Trumbull County, reinstated it when she took over in 2013.
Usually, hundreds of volunteers help seniors with their homes as part of United Way @ Work, but COVID-19 forced the United Way to scale back the one-day program. Instead, the chapter will have several projects going on over several days.
“We’ve actually expanded it to allow other volunteer opportunities that could be just simply a diaper drive in their place of employment or something like that,” Pasha said.
TEMA Roofing Services provides industrial and commercial roofing. The company typically doesn’t do residential work, but responded to an area-wide request from the United Way.
“We met Ms. Walker, and her story would absolutely melt your heart,” said Justin Froelich, vice president of TEMA Roofing Services. “This is what it’s all about, giving back to the community.”
Cindy Rogers, campaign and event coordinator for the United Way, visited several residential properties in late September to determine what work needed done, and what tools would be needed by the TEMA crew.
“We still have recipients who are on hold, but there are no other teams that are able to send volunteers out,” she said.
Froelich said TEMA has a positive relationship with the United Ways in Trumbull and Mahoning counties, which made it an easy decision to help with Walker’s property.
“To do stuff like this and volunteer, it makes it easy when you deal with people you like and you know their heart’s in a good place.” id.
Pictured at top: Niles resident Cindy Walker (in white) got help cleaning her home and property from the United Way @ Work program, represented by United Way of Trumbull County campaign and event coordinator Cindy Rogers, President Ginny Pasha, TEMA Roofing Services vice president Justin Froelich and United Way director of resource development Christine Cope.
Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio
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