Submitted by Rebuilding Together
Rickey Fievez will remember Father’s Day of 2018 like no other. That’s the day he was shot and paralyzed by a gunman trying to carjack his vehicle at the Walmart in Tumwater. Nearly 10 months later, Fievez continues to receive the support of the community as he recovers and adjusts to life in a wheelchair.
Most recently, volunteers from Rebuilding Together Thurston County built a ramp and deck on the back of Fievez’s home in Tenino. The ramp and deck provide Fievez a second means of exiting his home, which is especially important if the front door was inaccessible during an emergency situation.
Cathy Johnson, president of the Board of Directors for Rebuilding Together Thurston County, stressed the importance for homeowners to feel safe and comfortable in their homes. “So often, relatively small modifications or repairs to a home make a tremendous difference in that home continuing to meet the needs of the individual or family,” she said. “But, for many low income homeowners, the cost of doing so is beyond their financial means.”
Rebuilding Together Thurston County’s Critical Repairs Program focuses on these smaller projects, which usually cost under $1000 in materials and labor is provided by dedicated volunteers. Common needs addressed include ramps, handrails, grab bars, hot water heaters, water damage to floors, heating, and electric panel issues.
“I am more grateful than you will know,” Fievez told the team of volunteers from First United Methodist Church of Olympia. The deck also gives him an area where he can easily maneuver his wheelchair to enjoy the outdoors in a semiprivate setting. “Aiden, my 4-year-old grandson, and I used to run around and play outside all the time,” he reflected. “Now we can at least be outside together where we’re not right next to a street.”
If you are interested in sponsoring a Rebuilding Together Thurston County project or serving as a volunteer on a home, please email info@rebuildingtogetherTC.org.