A downstairs half bath and new flooring were welcome additions to Jackson House, which provides transitional housing for U.S. Armed Forces veterans, according to resident William Price.
A pool table in the living room of the downtown Indianapolis residence? Now that was an unexpected gift. And how about tickets to the Indiana Pacers home game on Veterans Day? That, too, was quite a surprise.
“It was awesome. I didn’t know what to expect. We have everything new,” resident Michael Harney said.
The Hoosier Veteran’s Assistance Foundation, a United Way nonprofit, on Nov. 8-9 teamed with the “Pit Crew,” comprised of volunteers from Panther Racing, Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing, INDYCAR Ministry and the INDYCAR community to renovate the interior of the house that can accommodate six individuals.
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Professional services and materials were provided by local plumbing and electrical companies, The Home Depot Foundation, other local retailers and community donations.
Nov. 11 is Veterans Day.
Price, a U.S. Army veteran, is among the current residents after he lost his job of 17 years. While visiting a community center, he learned of the HVAF’s mission of eliminating homelessness among veterans and their families through education, prevention, supportive services and advocacy.
The Veterans Administration estimates that veterans comprise about 15 percent of the homeless population in the United States.
"It's a great feeling to be appreciated," Price said.
Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing driver Charlie Kimball was among the volunteers who scraped, painted, laid flooring, assembled the pool table and generally spruced up the dwelling that was dedicated in 2000.
“I’m a hands-on kind of guy and the ability to be a part of the Jackson House remodel and spruce it up for the veterans living there and will be living there in the future is a fun Saturday for me,” Kimball said. “It’s really important that when they come back, our veterans in the armed forces, that we do everything we can to support and help them reintegrate into society.
“For me, the chance to do what I love, driving race cars, and have the ability and the freedom to do that is because of the work that the armed forces does. We have to take care of the vets, and that’s one of the things that I like about the HVAF is the ability to support the vets as they return home. I think (the remodel) will make a big difference.”