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  • Writer's pictureGreater Springfield Habitat for Humanity

Chicopee veteran purchases new roof, interior repairs through Home Preservation program

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

Meet Eddie, a retired Army Specialist (E-4), who recently benefitted from our Veteran Home

Preservation program. In September 2020, Eddie purchased a 46-year-old ranch in Chicopee for his wife and five of their children. Eddie and his wife Candy turned the sunroom addition into their master bedroom. They soon discovered the room was not structurally sound and needed repairs. The roof and skylights leaked, which was particularly noticeable during heavy storms. The sliding door was improperly installed, and the floor was uneven and covered with an indoor/outdoor carpet.

From left: the Pink Panther, Eddie, and two of his children stand in front of his Chicopee house.

Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH)’s Home Preservation program provides affordable repair assistance to qualifying homeowners who need help with accessibility modifications, home weatherization, general critical home repairs, yard cleanup, and landscaping. With a focus on serving the veteran community, seniors, and homeowners with disabilities.

When Eddie reached out to GSHFH, the nonprofit organization sought help from one of their national partners Owens Corning and their Roof Deployment Project, which aims to inspire, activate and match its network of independent Platinum Preferred Contractors with military families around the country to deliver and install a free, new roof. Local Platinum Preferred Contractor Vista Home Improvement replaced the roof and repaired seven skylights on April 19. Additional partnerships with the Home Depot Foundation Repair Corps Program will enable GSHFH to make interior repairs.

“OMG, the roof looks absolutely incredible,” Eddie said. “We are totally in love with it. I can never thank you guys enough.”

Home Depot Foundation and GSHFH construction crew will replace sliding door, level the floor, and replace the carpeting between late April and early May.

"The ability to partner with both national and local supporters allows us to stretch our program dollars and increase the number of veterans that we can serve in the community," said GSHFH Executive Director Aimee Giroux. "We can do so much more working together."

Eddie is not just any veteran, but someone who sacrificed his right leg just above the knee while deployed in Iraq. On a night in September 2003, Eddie sat on the tailgate of a light utility truck and manned the M-249 light machine gun. A rocket-propelled grenade hit. It pierced the tailgate and continued through Eddie’s right knee. He was transferred to a medical facility in Mosul where he received blood transfusions and pain medication. Then, Eddie went to Germany and finally the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where doctors amputated his leg. Despite the sacrifice, Eddie maintains a positive attitude about the experience.

“But I’m one of the lucky ones,” Eddie said. “Yes, it’s frustrating to lose a leg, but I lost just one. Some guys lost many limbs, or eyes, or were burned all over their bodies.”


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