Serving those who served: Group helps veterans with home improvement needs

LAKE COUNTY, Ill. — They spent part of their life serving our country and now veterans are in need somebody to serve them. And a local organization is answering.

U.S. Army veteran Gregory Cannon was part of the air assault team. He spent much of his 12 years in the service rappelling from helicopters.

“You get banged around,” Cannon said. “But you bounce up and you’re resilient.”

Today Cannon lives in a home in Waukegan with his wife, his children and his two grandchildren. Those years in the military took a toll on his body. There are things around the house he just can’t do. And he doesn’t have the funds to hire somebody else.

“When we purchased the house, the people that built it put stone tiling in with grout. There was another type of thing they should have put on the subflooring to keep it sound,” he said. “We have two autistic grandchildren we’re raising and we have custody of. They jump around and it loosens up. The kids start putting the broken tile and grout in their mouth. It’s not a good thing.”

After calling around for help, Cannon was connected with the new non-profit Lake County Responds For Veterans. The group helps veterans who find themselves in situations like this one.

The organization’s president is Norm Gann.

“Basically we’re helping veterans in need” he said. “Low to moderate income veterans that need home repairs, wheelchair ramps, roofs, that type of thing.”

Lake Country Responds is an offshoot of Naperville Responds for Veterans. Tina Abbatecola is on the board of directors of both Naperville and Lake County.

“It started with just a couple guys who wanted to make a difference in veterans’ lives,” she said. “We just did about $600,000 worth of repairs within a 20-mile radius of Naperville.”

Now, Lake County officially has its own branch of the program. After connecting with Cannon about his situation, the Lake County Responds team hired a contractor to come into the home and rip up all of the old tile. Cannon was able to pick out a brand new floor and bathroom vanity. All of it at no cost to the veteran.

Lake County Responds is looking to help as many veterans as possible. All of the work is paid for thanks to donations from the community.

“It’s given me peace of mind,” Cannon said. “I love my wife. I love my kids. I love my grandkids. They’re all in here with me. I just want everybody to be safe and sound and have a comfortable house to live in. This provides it.”

Are you a veteran who needs help around your house? Do you know a veteran who is in need? Or if you want to donate to support this organization, you can find all of the information you need here:

Lake County Responds For Veterans

Application and donations: LCRFV.org

Phone: 847-220-7636

Email: info@lcrfv.org

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