CHESTERTON | Carla Knight, a widow who is unable to maintain her home due to hip and back problems, says her children will feel much better after some 32 volunteers helped work on her home on Saturday as participants in Rebuilding Together Duneland.
“My kids won’t have to worry about me falling anymore,” said Knight, a retired Washington Township teachers’ aide of 18 years.
Knight says she is incredibly thankful for the effort which was led by house captain Sean Burke.
“We’re putting in handrails on the stairs to the basement, fixing the basement stairs, fishing the front door trim and blowing insulation into the attic, landscaping, pruning trees, removing debris, and doing an ugly dry wall job,” said Burke.
Burke has been participating in the annual community volunteer event for about a dozen years, he estimates, because he says he enjoys helping others, as does volunteer Deanna Kronland who has participated for four years.
“I enjoy it. We’re all friends here and I’ve made some new friends. There are interesting people here and it’s a good thing we all have a great sense of humor,” Kronland said.
Across Duneland at a site in Porter on Woodlawn Avenue, a crew of 24 worked to virtually completely remodel the inside and outside of Juanita Klimek’s home, a widow whose husband was in the middle of the work when he died many years back.
“I’ve never had my house look as good as it will look. I am really thankful for everyone who has helped,” said Klimek who helped to spread topsoil in her backyard.
Crews worked replacing gutters, installing kitchen cabinets, replacing windows, and doing extensive landscaping and Jim Thorstad, a co-captain on the project, said he has been participating since the event began in the community 16 years ago.
“It just makes you feel good to make others feel good. Everyone shares their skills and humanity,” he said, taking a break from drilling a cabinet into the wall.
Outside, students from Chesterton High School removed piles of branches from the yard and helped load them into a truck for removal in one of 15 sites around Chesterton, Porter, and Valparaiso.