Veterans’ backyard gets facelift

Community pitches in at UWNEMN/MACV transitional home
U.S. Steel Serve volunteers—a group of miners and veterans—are pictured at the UWNEMN/MACV transitional home. Volunteers were: Joel Kardell, David Toole, Ryan Weiss, Jarod Vitek, Chad Buus, Jason Croteau, Craig Platt, Robert Devyak and Ryan Ganyo.

U.S. Steel Serve volunteers—a group of miners and veterans—are pictured at the UWNEMN/MACV transitional home. Volunteers were: Joel Kardell, David Toole, Ryan Weiss, Jarod Vitek, Chad Buus, Jason Croteau, Craig Platt, Robert Devyak and Ryan Ganyo.

HIBBING – The backyard at the local veterans’ transitional home received quite the makeover in July. Volunteers from across the community volunteered time, materials, and labor for the backyard projects at the home which is run in partnership between the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) and Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV).

The transitional home is the only of its kind on the Iron Range and houses up to three local veterans at a time for a maximum of two years. One local veteran recently transitioned successfully from the home to living on their own with two veterans remaining in the home at this time.

“We are so grateful for the community’s support of this transitional home,” said Erin Shay, UWNEMN community impact and engagement director. “This house could not exist without help from individuals, organizations, and companies, and this latest help not only makes the backyard more appealing, it also makes it safer.”

Backyard work started on the home on July 15 when members of U.S. Steel Minntac’s veterans’ group, U.S.S. Serve, helped tear down an aging garage. In one day—in nearly 90-degree heat—the group of nine miners, who are also all veterans, removed the garage and cleaned up from the project. Demolition was also supported by Affordable Roll-Offs and L&L Rentals.

The backyard at the UWNEMN/MACV transitional home has new landscaping and a new picnic table thanks to Lowe’s of Hibbing. Employees and customers signed the picnic table thanking local veterans staying at the house, and Lowe’s employees volunteered time to give the transitional home’s backyard a facelift.

The backyard at the UWNEMN/MACV transitional home has new landscaping and a new picnic table thanks to Lowe’s of Hibbing. Employees and customers signed the picnic table thanking local veterans staying at the house, and Lowe’s employees volunteered time to give the transitional home’s backyard a facelift.

For two days the following week, AAA Tree Removal and North Country Tree Works donated their services to remove a giant box elder tree. The tree was encroaching on the home and was beginning to rot.

Rounding out the projects, employees from Lowe’s of Hibbing spent a week building a new storage shed, replacing deck boards, re-staining the deck, and planting flowers. Materials for these projects were donated by Lowe’s and Sherwin Williams.

In addition, Lowe’s employees built and decorated a picnic table for local veterans’ use. The red, white, and blue table now sits in the backyard, covered in signatures of Lowe’s employees and customers thanking veterans for their service.

AAA Tree Removal and North Country Tree Works worked together to remove a rotting tree from the UWNEMN/MACV transitional home.

AAA Tree Removal and North Country Tree Works worked together to remove a rotting tree from the UWNEMN/MACV transitional home.

Each year, Lowe’s Hero program allows local stores to pick a community project.

“We chose the [UWNEMN/MACV veterans’] home because we are huge believers in veterans and supporting our veteran community,” Hibbing store manager Pete Anderson said, noting he himself is a veteran, and about 20 percent of his store is staffed by veterans.

There are four generations of veterans in Anderson’s family, and he says he has a strong belief that “we need to support those that support us. “…The United Way has an amazing impact on the community up here,” he said.

The in-kind donation of volunteer hours and materials for this month-long project at the veterans’ transitional home were valued at more than $12,000.

Since 1966, the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) has worked to serve the needs of individuals and families on the Iron Range (northern St. Louis County and eastern Itasca County) and Koochiching County. The organization’s mission is to unite and focus the communities in creating measurable results to improve people’s lives and

Lowe’s Hibbing employees are shown at the UWNEMN/MACV transitional home. Volunteers were: Jessica Jurek, Dar Nickila, Tessi Stolp, Jeremy McDonald, David DeMaris and Pete Anderson.

Lowe’s Hibbing employees are shown at the UWNEMN/MACV transitional home. Volunteers were: Jessica Jurek, Dar Nickila, Tessi Stolp, Jeremy McDonald, David DeMaris and Pete Anderson.

strengthen area families. Learn more at www.unitedwaynemn.org Homelessness and its consequences are leading causes of personal and family suffering and community problems resulting in major health and social costs. Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) exists to directly help veterans and their families affected by homelessness or those in danger of becoming homeless. It also strives to serve, inform, educate and train others to carry a message of hope. As a result, MACV aims to set a national standard for respectfully meeting housing and supportive service needs of veterans while maintaining the worth and dignity of all those involved. Through outreach offices in Minneapolis, Duluth and Mankato, MACV provides and coordinates services for veterans in need throughout Minnesota. Learn more at www.mac-v.org.

Each year, Lowe’s Hero program allows local stores to pick a community project.

Each year, Lowe’s Hero program allows local stores to pick a community project.

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