Good Samaritans help with home repairs

July 20, 2013
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Barbara Walker gets choked up when talking about how much the home improvement work means to her. Walker received help from members of the Holy Name Society of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal to put up siding, do yardwork, create concrete stairs, install a fan and reinforce support beams in her Midland home. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
The Rev. Carmen D’Amico, pastor of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, weeds around the house of Barbara Walker in Chartiers Township. The parishoners of the church volunteered to help Walker and are looking to do more projects in their community. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Dominic Altieri cuts boards to size for reinforcement of the support beams under the house during the first Good Samaritan Project. Order a Print
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Katie Roupe / Observer-Reporter
Siding goes up on the house of Barbara Walker in Midland. In addition to the siding, gutters, downspouts and concrete steps were also installed. The Good Samaritan Project is geared to help elderly, disabled and single parents in need of home improvement help. Order a Print

Earlier this year, during Lent, Bob Bradley was listening to the Rev. Carmen D’Amico’s homily during Mass at Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Meadow Lands, encouraging members of the parish to make sacrifices.

“I felt like he was talking to me,” Bradley said Saturday, covered in sawdust and sweat as he and other parishioners worked at the home of Barbara Walker in the village of Midland, Chartiers Township.

Bradley said, as a member of a carpenter’s union, he worked on the Christmas In April program, where home repairs would be done. He approached George Pecharka, secretary of the church’s Holy Name Society with his idea for the Good Samaritan Project.

Fast forward to July and members of the society were joined by D’Amico, the pastor of the church, as well as other parishioners from young to old, to work at Walker’s home. She was selected from several applicants to be the first of what church members hope will be many to be helped.

Michael Kubacki, president of the Holy Name Society, said donations were collected from parishioners for the materials. Volunteers donated their labor for the repairs.

“We had some fathers and their young sons here working,” Kubacki said. “Some of the women were working in Barb’s flower beds, pulling out weeds.”

Work being done at the house included replacing the siding, gutters and downspouts and painting the trim on the outside of the house. On the inside, the floor in her laundry room was replaced and a paddle fan and light were installed in her bedroom. Dangerous concrete steps and sidewalk leading to Walker’s house were also replaced.

D’Amico said it is great that members of his parish are putting the Gospel into action.

“It is one thing to sit in church and another to live it out,” D’Amico said. “In our community, we know there are a lot of needs. We try to focus on the elderly, disabled and single parents requiring help to meet their daily needs.”

“We want to have an impact, not just when we are in the church building, but when we go out into the community,” the pastor added.

Pecharka said Saturday’s project was not the only example of the society’s work in the community. The group does other projects including helping the local food bank.

Bradley said he would like others to follow the example set by the Holy Name Society and parishioners by paying it forward and helping someone in their community.

“I’d like to see someone else do something nice for someone,” Bradley said. “We have to give back.”

“Help one another,” urged Kubacki.

Walker, her eyes filling with tears, said she was overwhelmed by the help on the home she has lived in since she was a young girl. She pointed to an imposing pine tree in her yard and said it was planted when she was 10 years old.

“God is good,” Walker said. “I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this.”

Kathie O. Warco has covered the police beat and transportation for the Observer-Reporter for more than 25 years. She graduated from Duquesne University with a degree in journalism.

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