The back yard at the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) and Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) veterans’ transitional home received quite the makeover this month.
Volunteers from across the community volunteered time, materials, and labor for the backyard projects at the home which is the only of its kind on the Iron Range.
The transitional home 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 UWNEMN Community Impact and Engagement Director Erin Shay. “This house could not exist without help from individuals, organizations, and companies, and this latest help not only makes the back yard more appealing – it also makes it safer.”
Backyard work started on the home on July 15th 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.
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 all of last 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 back yard, covered in signatures of Lowe’s employees and customers thanking veterans for their service.
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 valued at more than $12,000.