Volunteers make a difference for homeowners across the Fox Valley


NEENAH - Hundreds of volunteers made a difference for people in need across the Fox Valley Saturday.

Home repairs can be difficult, especially for senior citizens and people with disabilities.

But this weekend, the non-profit group "Rebuilding Together Fox Valley" stepped in to fix homes for free.

"I don't work on houses too much so it kind of gives me a little experience there," said Tony Jebavy as he painted walls inside a Neenah home.

And it appears Jebavy, of Kimberly, is actually pretty handy with a paint roller. He's one of 600 people who set aside their Saturday to help others.

"You can see how much of a difference it's going to make. And it's going to help with their living experience, and their day to day stuff," said Jebavy.

For the past 13 years, Rebuilding Together Fox Valley has brought volunteers and communities together to improve the homes and lives of homeowners.

"Our main mission is to help them stay safe, warm and independent. And we help with low income elderly, disabled and veterans," said Rebuilding Together Fox Valley executive director, Mary Beth Leopold.

Corporations and individuals throughout the community sponsor homes and organize teams of unskilled and skilled trades people to work together on the projects.

"Until you really see firsthand those that just don't have it as good as some of us, you really don't know what's out there. And if we're not helping out, it's kicking it to the next person. That's not right," said Steve Tramp with Associated Bank.

Rebuilding Together Fox Valley partners with Fox Valley Technical College to get these home repairs done.

"We have doors going in, windows going in, all that stuff," said Dennis Lamers, a FVTC instructor.

While volunteers come together on this one day, ordering materials and coordinating the help takes a lot of pre-planning. In the end, volunteers say it's worth it.

"I mean these people don't want to be in this position either. They're very grateful when you do things like this and I just love it," said Lamers.

Rebuilding Together Fox Valley completed 14 projects Saturday.

That included rehabbing an office building in Appleton. It's now the new "Block Community Health Education Center."