Volunteer project helps deserving veterans in Texas
By KATHRYN CARGO | Victoria Advocate, Texas (Tribune News Service) | Published: April 19, 2017
Victoria Advocate, Texas — Having their house painted by volunteers last year was a blessing for Niki Wheeler and Pat Visconti.
The couple was selected for a project to fix up the exterior of a veteran's home. The project is a partnership between Military Veteran Peer Network, Platinum Homes and Sherwin Williams.
Mike Allen, Gulf Bend Regional Peer Service coordinator for the veteran organization, will be taking applications and nominations for the project until 11:59 p.m. Thursday. The veteran for the project will be chosen Friday.
Any veteran is qualified to apply regardless of era or branch of service.
"It's our way of giving back to a deserving veteran family," Allen said. "It's also a good way for all the veterans in our program to give back and a lot of volunteers to give back. It will be a fun day for everyone involved."
Visconti, 35, was a Marine for eight years and served in Iraq. His fiancee, Wheeler, 37, volunteers with Warrior's Weekend.
The volunteers painted their house, fixed the shutters, stained the back deck and added flower beds.
"It was an honor after what he had given and my volunteer work and everything else to be chosen," Wheeler said. "We didn't expect to get chosen. We figured it would go to a Vietnam veteran or World War II veteran."
The couple plans to join volunteers April 29 and 30 to paint a veteran's house and will continue to volunteer every year there after.
"Both Pat and I are volunteers and when somebody does something like this for you, you give back," Wheeler said. "That's what you're supposed to do. They did this for us, of course we're going to be a part of the team from now on."
Contractors with Platinum Homes will volunteer, said Chris Painter, company project manager. Sherwin Williams is donating paint.
The project hits home for Painter, because he served 24 years in the U.S. Army.
"We want to give back to vets," he said. "There's a lot that have a home that needs a new little make over to the exterior, but they're not capable, whether it be financial means or physical means. Why not help? Why not do it?"
During the exterior makeover the chosen family will have a mini vacation at a home owned by Platinum Homes on Coleto Creek free of charge, Painter said.
"We'll go to work, see what we can do with this house to make it pretty and surprise them with it," he said.
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