A brush with kindness

 In Stories

Carey Poorman loves his 102-year old home on 17th Street NE. And while he sees room for continued improvement in surrounding properties and blocks, Poorman feels strongly about the Wellington Heights community, as well. “I love my neighborhood,” he says. “I would never leave it.”

His late wife felt the same way about the place, insisting that she be allowed to pass away peacefully in her home, not in a hospital bed. That was nine years ago. Poorman says that, if she were here today, his wife would be incredibly proud of how their home has been improved and preserved through the work of Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity (CVHFH) and the Affordable Housing Network, Inc (AHNI). “I was elated,” Poorman says. “I was extremely impressed with the knowledge of the team and their ability to get the job done.”

When Poorman first came to Habitat in April of 2014 seeking help through the organization’s A Brush with Kindness exterior painting and repair program, he was in a tough spot. His home was in desperate need of scraping and painting, but the 76-year-old United States Navy and Air Force veteran, who also cares for his disabled adult daughter, was not financially or physically able to do the work himself.

But thanks to critical support provided through the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation and the strong collaboration between CVHFH and AHNI, the work on his home was completed in just less than one week this summer. “They did a beautiful job,” Poorman says.

In addition to making a $500 one-time payment to help cover material and supply costs, Poorman was expected to invest 25 hours of sweat equity, a requirement he met by painting his garage.

“It took me a long while,” Poorman says. “But I got it done!” The team of volunteers, led by AHNI staffer Larry Myers, also made a critical repair on Poorman’s property. The concrete on his front stairs was crumbling and had become unsafe not only for Poorman and his daughter, but also for the mail carrier and other visitors.

While the fresh paint is a huge improvement and a source of pride for Poorman, he is very grateful for this repair. “Every time I step on those stairs, I think of this great project,” he says.