Realtors spend weekend revitalizing home for disabled veteran

Realtors spend weekend revitalizing home for disabled veteran
District 7 Councilman Reginald Gaffney, Cindy Corey and Kelly Rich
Debra and Raymond Thomas in front of their Springfield home.

Debra and Raymond Thomas in front of their Springfield home.

For the second year, Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty-Avondale, through its charitable organization CBV Cares, sponsored a home revitalization and restoration project for a family in need in Springfield. Over just two days in September, dozens of volunteers and donors all came together to complete the project.

CBV realtor Cindy Corey said she feels energized about future projects after seeing the response from the community. Next year the initiative is expanding to renovate not just one but two homes annually.

“We were really excited that CBV Cares was able to grant the money that kickstarted this project. I was just astounded at the degree of support in that community,” said Corey. “All the neighbors showing up, it just kind of gives me chills to talk about it. It was awe inspiring. I would like to see it replicated all over the city, honestly.

The number of businesses and private donors contributing far exceeded expectations. A short list includes An Olde Time Hardware, Carolina Lumber, Empire Electric, LanVilla Landscape King, Leroy Thompson Painting, LISC Jacksonville, McGowan’s Heating & Air Conditioning, European Street Cafe and Social Grounds Coffee.

“LanVilla was an amazing contributor, they sent their whole crew and all the materials. It was an amazing gift,” noted Corey.

Springfield Preservation and Revitalization (SPAR) Executive Director Kelly Rich echoed the sentiment. “We were able to give a whole lot more than we initially expected,” shared Rich near the conclusion of the weekend project. “The homeowners, of course, are just tickled. The wife was hugging everybody.”

Improvements included a complete renovation of the exterior, including a fresh coat of paint, new porch rails, landscaping and a new AC unit. Over 50 volunteers showed up to contribute the hard work on a hot Florida weekend to get the job done.

“This home is a contributing structure in the historic district,” explained Rich. “Not only is this project a benefit to the resident but protecting the historic housing stock.” Rich recently relocated from Louisiana to take what she calls her dream position and enthusiastically shared her love for living in Springfield.

Homeowners Raymond and Debra Thomas have lived in the neighborhood over 25 years and raised the children in the home. Raymond is a disabled veteran who worked for JEA and Atlantic Bank over the years. As they’ve gotten older, keeping up with home repairs became more challenging, and they feel being chosen as the recipients for this project is a blessing from God.

“We thank God for blessing us and people taking their time and resources to help this project,” said Raymond. His wife Debra grew up nearby on Pearl Street and they met in 1976 at the historic Myrtle Avenue Ball Park where famous players like Hank Aaron once played. “We’ve seen the neighborhood evolve a lot and change over the years,” he noted.

By Patricia Larkin
Resident Community News

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