“For the veteran: thank you for bravely doing what you’re called to do so we can safely do what we’re free to do.”—Unknown | How do you repay an irrevocable debt? How do you properly say “thank you” to those who valiantly stand for our freedom, willing to put their lives on the line, understanding wholly the sacrifices it entails?
For every remodel we have the opportunity to do, and every homeowner we have the chance to work with, we consider it a true privilege—not only to be a guest in their home, but to sincerely do what we love, and make homeowners’ visions come to life. And in the same respect, we owe these many opportunities to our Veterans, as they’ve allowed us the privilege to freely & safely do our jobs day-in and day-out.
Recently, we had the honor to work with one of our Nation’s Veterans and remodel his home. From the initial consolation, we knew that we wanted to go above & beyond for this gentleman. Not just because he was a DBS client, but because he was a Veteran that had made immense sacrifices. In his time of active duty, he sustained injuries that would impact the rest of his life. But as such, he still maintained an infectious spirit and candid sense of humor. For us, remodeling his home would truly be both an honor and privilege, even though the process would be unlike what we’re used to.
To start, we came as a recommendation from a former client. Having previously worked with us, she knew we’d be capable of handling everything for this gentleman, from concept to completion, with specific attention to detail, including particular aspects of financing. The challenge posed would be to not only become an approved Veteran Affairs Builder but to also work within the confines of the VA’s Special Adapted Housing Grant. The requirements for this VA grant were rightly stringent, but in our case, having an expansive, well-detailed Job Scope would only further work in favor of his home remodel.
Our second and most important goal would be to remodel his home implementing a Universal Design so that he could live in his home without obstacles. As defined by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) “Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” Additionally, “Universal design is related to aging-in-place remodeling and a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) can help you remodel your home using Universal Design concepts.” For this particular remodel, Bob Lutz, DBS’ Operations Manager, as well as Remodeling Consultant, is CAPS certified and would aid in helping to develop an easily accessible space for our Vet. Lutz’s focus would be to keep current and future needs in mind; creating a space that was thoughtfully laid out and adhered to the necessary requirements of the VA grant.
For our Veteran, we needed to completely redesign his primary bedroom and add a full bathroom. His bathroom would need to include a barrier-free shower (also known as a curb-less shower) a comfort height water closet and wall-hung sink. A new entry door was also built from his bedroom to a newly built 20’x10’ deck, which featured a ramp to his driveway. Additionally, we relocated the basement entrance for him to increase safety when accessing.
Through each prolonged step, including a minor shutdown due to COVID-19, our Veteran remained patient and understanding; his impish smile was always present, but most humbling, was his constant appreciation for us. It was his gratitude that was so nearly surprising. Here we are as remodelers, among one of our Nation’s Heroes, doing something that seemed so ordinary in comparison to what he’d done and sacrificed. Working with him gave us an even clearer perspective on who he was as a person, and how rightly deserving he was to have a home that could accommodate him.
The quote we chose to start this blog was not selected without thought; “so we can safely do what we’re free to do.” Whether you’re in pursuit of the American Dream, in school, or simply remodelers like us, you’re able to start each day freely pursuing your life’s ambition. The simple tasks of every day, whether it’s going to work, or remodeling someone’s home, we owe to those who’ve allowed us to do so in a safe and free country. “Thank you for bravely doing what you’re called to do.” Veterans – whether active duty, retired, or in reserve – at one point in their life, chose to put America, its people, and our freedom, above their own life. And, as we reflect on the magnitude of what this holds, we can’t help but feel immense gratitude that we were able to give back to someone who, too, chose to bravely serve for our country, and allow us to remodel his home.
After 35 years in business, we’ve learned that no two home remodels are the same. We’ve had the pleasure to remodel countless bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. We’ve had the opportunity to make hundreds of homeowners’ renovation dreams come to life. But, when it comes down to what makes each remodel special, it’s not the selections they pick, the color they paint, or the cabinetry selected—it’s the people involved. The homeowners are what make each remodel memorable; adding that little bit of “magic,” call it, that makes the jobs even more worthwhile. Being able to work with a local Veteran, was not only a job that would be humbling for us, but also one that would be cherished, too. He was grateful to us, but really, it’s he who holds our utmost gratitude and respect. He made that remodel a true honor and privilege.