Volunteers help veteran repair St. Cloud home

Brian Sunderland served in Air Force from 1976 to 1980

Dozens of volunteers came together Wednesday to make repairs and improvements to a military veteran’s home in St. Cloud.

ST. CLOUD, Fla. – Dozens of volunteers came together Wednesday to make repairs and improvements to a military veteran’s home in St. Cloud.

The project was focused on the home of Brian Sunderland, who served in the Air Force from 1976 to 1980.

Recently, Sunderland was confined to his home because of a fractured pelvis and mobility issues.

“I couldn’t go anywhere, just housebound,” Sunderland said. “I was really on the front porch for quite a while.”

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The work at the home came after the Home Depot Foundation and Osceola Council on Aging teamed up with Meals on Wheels America.

“They’ve gone ahead and redone the roof (and) exterior,” Team Depot Captain Stephen Grant said. “Here we’re finishing up the landscaping, ramps as well.”

In addition to installing an ADA toilet and grab bars in the bathroom, workers replaced and repaired flooring throughout the house and built wheelchair-accessible ramps.

In total, more than $40,000 worth of materials and work was donated to help make things safer and more comfortable.

“This is giving him a different lease on life,” Wendy Ford with the Osceola Council on Aging said. “Now he can leave the house. Now they can go places because he can actually get in and out of the house.”

Eco-friendly products and energy-efficient building practices were also used throughout the repairs to help lower utility bills.

“Oh, I’m thankful. I mean, really,” Sunderland said. “I think that’s great whenever they can help anybody.”

The Home Depot Foundation and Meals on Wheels America, along with local programs like the Osceola Council on Aging, have together made critical home repairs and modifications that have helped over 1,900 veterans age comfortably in their homes. The Foundation recently announced a $2.3 million grant to Meals on Wheels America that will serve 275 senior veterans across the country.

About the Author:

Mark Lehman became a News 6 reporter in July 2014, but he's been a Central Florida journalist and part of the News 6 team for much longer. While most people are fast asleep in their bed, Mark starts his day overnight by searching for news on the streets of Central Florida.