Improve A Disabled Vets Life

Meet Jon Shepard! He is our neighbor who became a friend and we are trying to help improve his living conditions. John suffered a brain injury in Vietnam when some shrapnel was lodged in his skull. His disability also hinders his mobility and he has been confined to a wheelchair unable to fully care for himself or his home for many years. He has no family left and it seems many so-called friends have taken advantage of him. He never complains and always has a smile on his face, even though his home is falling down around him.  

The first immediate need we noticed was flooring because it became too difficult to navigate on the torn shag carpet, held together with duct tape. After 6 months of paperwork, the VA finally gave us enough money to replace flooring in the living, hall, one bedroom and the kitchen, however it covered the least expensive flooring and very little labor. The flooring, which needs to be a commercial grade to withstand the weight of a motorized scooter (which we learned the hard way), cost $3,000 more than the VA budget would allow. 

It also did not account for the labor of moving his things, intensive cleaning, painting, and much needed updates in lighting. His bathroom floor is rotten & unsafe and the tub needs replacing because it is too difficult for caregivers to get him in and out for bathing. We installed a window AC unit to help in this summer’s sweltering heat and opened up a wall to make more room for him to get around. His roof is caving in and there is a giant hole in one of the bedrooms that must be repaired before winter. There are a few other neighbors who are lending a hand as available and we are donating all of our time and out-of-pocket expenses so far to cover what the VA did not pay for, but there is still a giant gap between what needs to be done and what we can afford.  The need is immediate. Here are some pictures from before and a few of our progress (sorry some of the photos are poor quality because there was very little light). 

It took time for Jon to trust us and allow us to help with little things.  When we first knocked on his door, he asked "Are you here to complain about the yard?" Jon knows we are doing some extra work above and beyond the VA's allowance and he didn't ask us to do this, yet he is accepting it and everyday says how happpy he is with the progress. I know he doesnt' comprehend the full costs and I doubt he would  accept help if he knew the real expenses because he doesn't want to be a burden, so we are asking on his behalf.  We will be grateful beyond words for any help we receive forJon and will make sure to tell him that many friends, neighbors and acquaintances pitched in to help him.  If there are any funds remaining when the project is complete, we will dontate the money to another veteran.

When he was called to duty as a young man for our country he went and now it is our turn to give back to him. No one should have to live this way. I hope you will consider helping forJon's sake or in honor of other veterans you may know. If you cannot donate, please share.

Thanks so much!


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Brenda Gunderson 
Portland, OR
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