A Pickerington veteran and his young family were recipients recently of a collaborative initiative between two programs to make their new home safer, warmer and beautiful.
Rebuilding Together of Central Ohio, a non-profit organization that provides home repairs to those in need, teamed up with Sears' Heroes at Home program and over twenty volunteers to complete critical home repairs for the Boling family of Pickerington.
Julie Smith, executive director of Rebuilding Together of Central Ohio, said this is the first time her organization has made a foray into Fairfield County.
"The Boling family just moved into their first home," Smith said.
"Joey Boling is a disabled vet," she said. "We made a lot of repairs that focused on preserving the integrity of the house, mostly to keep out moisture."
Boling served five years in the Air Force and eight years in the Marines, including an eight-month deployment in Iraq in 2007.
While in Iraq, Boling was thrown from a truck and landed on concrete.
As a result, he suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as injuries to his spine and extensive nerve damage to one of his arms.
Boling, his wife Jaime and their two children moved to Pickerington last March from Maryland, where the family lived in Wounded Warrior transitional housing.
With a 2-year old boy and an infant daughter in tow, the Bolings need for a stable, permanent home and a desire to be closer to family brought them to Pickerington.
Heroes at Home and Rebuilding Together routinely team up to fund the home renovations for veterans like Boling, whose injuries threaten their ability to live in a safe and accessible home.
Smith said the Boling family was certainly deserving of the help.
"He's living on a disabled veterans salary and I will tell you it's not a whole lot," Smith said. "
The family put everything they had into buying a house."
Rebuilding Together is based in Franklin County. Smith put a call out to the organization's volunteer network to assist in the project.
"We didn't have any contacts with the Pickerington community, but our volunteers came out in droves to help," she said, adding that on "two different days, 23 people came out."
Among the volunteers was Pickerington City Councilman Brandon Ogden.
"I felt it was very rewarding to help this family," Ogden said.
"I hope that the Bolings now have a home that is suitable for their needs and can enjoy raising their young family in Pickerington," he said.
Smith said volunteers removed 10 yards of soil by hand and replaced a number of steps on the home's deck.
"We also did weatherization-type repairs and filled in a lot of cracks, just some things to make the home safer for him," she said.
The organization still has some work to do.
Ogden said they will come back to stain the deck "as well as construct a fence because the family has young children."
Boling said his family is appreciative of the assistance.
"I have physical injuries that make manual labor difficult," he said.
"It's been a great help for them to be able to come out and take care of things that would have taken me a lot longer," he said.
Boling said his family is looking forward to putting down deep roots in Pickerington.
"My wife and I have moved five times in the last 21/2 years," Boling said.
"It's great to finally have a place to call home," he said.