Circle Drive, Chicopee
Exterior #VeteransBuild project that replaced an old
and unsupported ramp to the side door of his home.
Kenneth's #VeteransBuild project
Kenneth is the latest recipient of Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity’s (GSHFH) Veterans Build program. Veterans Build is a national initiative to provide housing solutions, volunteer, and employment opportunities for US veterans, military service members, and their families. The program serves limited-income homeowners who are affected by age, disability, or family circumstances, and struggle to maintain the condition and utility of their homes.
Aimee Giroux, GSHFH executive director, reached out to Westover Jobs Corp to remove the previous ramp. Job Corps is a program overseen by the US Department of Labor that offers free education and vocational training to low-income youth between the ages of 16 and 24 years old. Able Home Accessibility installed a new steel and aluminum modular ramp to his home’s side entrance. Home Depot Foundation funded the project through a grant.
“We are extremely grateful to Westover Job Corps, Able Home Accessibility, and the Home Depot Foundation to help us provide Kenneth with a new safe ramp,” Aimee said. “Our community partners help us to help more veterans in need of home repairs.”
Kenneth joined the Army following high school. He is one of 13 children and one of eight in his family who joined a military branch or the Peace Corps. He served for three years with the Signal Corps as a chief teletype and cryptographic operator. He also spent time in Korea. When he left the Army, Kenneth said he had an opportunity to work in security clearance, but instead married a woman with three children. He and his wife added another child to the brood. Kenneth worked for the town sanitation department for a few years until an injury forced him to retire. Kenneth’s family continued to expand. Soon, there were four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Kenneth’s wife passed away in 2008.
Mark Aubin, Westover Job Corps Building Construction Technology instructor, and his students removed the ramp the week leading up to Thanksgiving 2023. Matt Walsh, president of West Boylston’s Able Home Accessibility, and his team installed the new ramp.
“The first team did a great job of getting rid of the old material and leveling the property. There was no mess,” said Matt. “These ramps are great. They don’t rust or deteriorate and Kenneth is a nice guy. It’s always great to help a veteran.”
The old wood ramp, which was constructed without any support beneath it.
Westover Job Corps removes the old ramp.
The Westover Job Corps poses on the space that used to house the ramp.
From left: Able Home Accessibility President Matt Walsh stands with his team and Kenneth (far right in blue jacket) atop his new ramp at his Chicopee home.