Fix It Volunteers generate repairs and smiles in Ocean

Fix It volunteers make repairs and generate smiles in Ocean County

Delores or “Del” as she prefers to be called is a spirited and gracious woman who has come to appreciate the helping hands of Catholic Charities’ Fix It program. An independent woman who retired from a long career as the “go to” person running the busy front office of Howell High School, Del is an adept problem-solver. But a contractor she hired told her the hot water heater he repaired needed a new enclosure to protect it. Recognizing the repair could be costly, Del called Catholic Charities’ Fix It program about a “small job” to protect her hot water heater, located on the exterior of her trailer. John McCrone, Fix It program coordinator sent volunteer Tom Holzer out to meet Del and assess the repairs needed. He later joked that the job turned out to be a bit more involved but “making the repairs needed to the hot water heater door turned into an opportunity to meet a delightful woman.” According to John, “Tom got the job done and returned to her house again to fix her doorbell and a drafty front door. Del was so happy she made a donation to the Fix It program.”

Tom, a recently retired civil engineer, heard about the Fix It program from a neighbor. The easy- going “handyman” thought volunteering would be a good way to help out people like his own parents. “I’m so glad I got involved volunteering for the Fix It program,” said Tom. “As an engineer, I enjoy problem-solving but the best part is meeting people like Del. Seeing how happy and relieved she is after I have made a small repair just makes me feel good.”

John explained that as a senior woman living on her own, Del represents 85% of the Fix It program’s clients. “These people have given so much throughout their lives to their jobs, schools, families, churches and communities. It is an honor to have the opportunity to give back to them.” John seeks new volunteers and assures that they need not be full-fledged “handymen” like Tom. “Most of the repairs are very minor such as changing a light bulb the client cannot reach.” To learn more about volunteering with the Fix It program, call John, 732-363-5322 extension 3234. The Fix It program is available to seniors residing in Ocean County and the clients are responsible for the cost of parts. The labor and tools are provided by Fix It. The Fix It program is run by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, and all services are available to individuals and families in need, regardless of religious affiliation.

Submitted by Lisa Thibault

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