FAIRFIELD — For Gwen Ewell, Saturday was a “blessing” as members of the Matt Garcia Foundation and representatives of local trade unions were on hand to assist Ewell in fixing up her home on National Good Neighbor Day.
The City of Fairfield held its fourth annual Senior Home Assistance Repair Event with 12 homes slated for repair during the day.
Ewell’s house was identified as one of the bigger projects of the day, said Robert Basile, Housing and Rehabilitation Manager for the city of Fairfield.
“This is just great,” Ewell said as a swarm of Matt Garcia Foundation volunteers cleaned debris from the backyard of the property.
The home in the 500 block of Princeton Way suffered a significant fire in July 2012, which forced Ewell and her family to move out for seven months.
Much of the debris cleaned from behind the home Saturday was put there after the fire destroyed the kitchen and some of the surrounding rooms.
Many of those cleaning the debris from the backyard are part of the Matt Garcia Foundation Legacy Program, a program which helps children receive support in academics and learn about community service.
“We make sure that the kids are part of the community,” Matt Garcia Foundation board member Dwight Lundy said. “They are part of the population that is usually ignored.”
Assisting in home repair were the Carpenters Local 180 Union, Electrical IBEW Local 180 and the Plumbers UA Local 343, which replaced a toilet and the valve on the wall connected to the toilet, added disabled access bars in the bathroom, installed exterior lights, fitted the home with new rain gutters and added light bulbs.
“It’s really great to give back to the community,” Carpenters Local 180 Union member Dana McGovern said.
Ewell’s daughter, Estelle Jackson, was on hand to assist with the cleanup for the day.
“I didn’t know they (Matt Garcia Foundation volunteers) were coming,” Jackson said. “Then all of a sudden, I saw people with yellow vests everywhere.”
After the volunteers departed, Ewell stood next to a container, which was piled with all the items from the backyard.
“This is just a blessing,” she said.
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