Volunteers Bring Early Christmas Of Home Repairs

April 27, 1992|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Staff writer

Not only did Christmas come in April for Elijah Galloway, it lasted three whole days.

That's how long it took teams of volunteers to spruce up his Annapolis home at Jackson and President streets in Eastport.

They were only supposed to stay one Saturday, but so much needed to be done to the tired, two-story home that the work crews came a few days early. Galloway couldn't have been happier.

"I think it's great," he said, sitting in a folding chair near his front sidewalk, smiling and listening to the sounds of workers virtually rebuilding the house he has owned for 18 years.

"It's in pretty bad shape," he said. "It's in good shape now because they are working on it."

TheJackson Street house was just one of 12 from Harwood to Severna Parkpicked by the county to be repaired by volunteers on what is called Christmas In April.

The program targets homes owned by elderly or disabled people who do not have the money or resources to make the repairs themselves.

"I'm in construction, and I just think everyone should have a nice house to live in," said Ron Baker, who owns Creative Home Care and served as one of the house captains, or foremen, on Saturday.

About 40 people showed up at Galloway's home, including contractors, builders, roofers, plumbers and high school students. A neighbor, Lou Linker, brewed 40 gallons of coffee when he saw what was going on next door.

Galloway, 55, who worked pouring concrete before glaucoma robbed him of his sight in 1985, said his 20-year-old daughter, Tanya, comes over every day to help him out. His wife can nolonger live in their home because of a disability.

The years had been hard on the home. Windows were broken and loose in their casings; the front and back porches had rotted away; and the upstairs bathroom sink sprang a leak.

"I would never get any of this done," Galloway said. "The house would have fallen right down on top of me."

But workers were not about to let any part of the house crumble. They completely rebuilt both porches, ripped all the shingles off and built a new roof.

Midlantic Corp. donated 17 windows so that every onecould be replaced. BBK Contracting sent four specialists to clean the gutters and install siding. Workers from Cusimano and Sons brought family members along to help.

Other workers poured concrete for outdoor steps, ran new electrical wires throughout the home, replaced the plumbing, including the kitchen sink, put in new flooring and repainted every room.

As workers pounded in a new floor in the kitchen, Al Wilson was stripping the plumbing and preparing to install a newbathroom sink and toilet.

"I've seen a lot worse," he said.

All of the materials were donated. If the job had been contracted out, it would have cost Galloway at least $28,000.

"It's one of the bigger jobs," said Joe Belt, a rehabilitation specialist for the Office of Planning and Zoning.

"It is a good community-type project," said Adrian Wiseman, a human relations officer with the county executive's office. "There are members of all walks of life here, from professional contractors to kids who want to do something for the community."

Wiseman said more than 400 people volunteered to help on the project, and many had to be turned away.

"The outpouring of generosity is overwhelming," he said.

Patrick Doherty, 13, whose mother works for General Dynamics Corp., was busy painting an upstairs bedroom with one of his friends.

"We didn't want to do it at first," he said, "but it's OK."

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