Veteran finds strength through home repair

Benjamin Willhite, a veteran of the Vietnam War, has always been a handyman. He’s spent many joyful days working on his Tucson home of 40 years, but after he suffered a stroke on the day before Easter in 2014, minor home repairs became increasingly difficult.

“We needed a lot of work in our house,” explained his wife, Levolina.2016-01-14 12.00.01

Levolina acknowledged that age has kept her from maintaining the home in the wake of her husband’s stroke. She added that working on her home in the desert’s heat is nearly unbearable. The home is only equipped with swamp cooling, and for years, the family has had to resort to placing fans around the home for relief.

The couple received a letter describing Habitat Tucson’s services for veterans of the United States Military. Until that point, they were unaware that resources were available to help them repair their ailing home. After completing an application, the family received the help they needed.

Habitat Tucson volunteers helped install an air conditioner as well as paint the home’s exterior.

“The paint was totally chipped off. Everything was getting really old. Now it looks like a brand new house,” said Andrew Whillhite, Benjamin’s son. “I grew up in that house. It was my childhood home. Now, it’s beautiful.”

Benjamin and his family can now live comfortably in the home where they’ve made memories, hosted family gatherings, and can retire in comfort.

“I just want to say that everyone was really wonderful and we really appreciate all the help we got,” Levolina said about Habitat’s work on her home.

“The workers were awesome. They left my dad extra paint so that he could fix things up as needed,” agreed Andrew.

Find out more about opportunities for veterans at www.habitattucson.org/veteran