Organization helps seniors with repairs to stay in their homes

Stephen Valentine works on Marilyn Watson’s gutters at her home in Madden Hills on Saturday. Jake Riley held the ladder steady for Valentine.  Watson’s home needed several repairs for her to continue to live in it. The work was done through Rebuilding Together Dayton, a local nonprofit, and the house workers were from Wilcon Corporation. EILEEN McCLORY STAFF
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Stephen Valentine works on Marilyn Watson’s gutters at her home in Madden Hills on Saturday. Jake Riley held the ladder steady for Valentine. Watson’s home needed several repairs for her to continue to live in it. The work was done through Rebuilding Together Dayton, a local nonprofit, and the house workers were from Wilcon Corporation. EILEEN McCLORY STAFF

There was a hole in Marilyn Watson’s kitchen she needed replaced, as well as other repairs on her house that needed to be done.

That’s where Rebuilding Together Dayton came in. Watson worked with the local nonprofit before and said they treated her like family, wearing their masks around her because she is immunocompromised and being punctual.

“They worry about me, just like I’m one of their family, and I feel like they’re my family, too,” Watson said.

Volunteers from Rebuilding Together Dayton and crews from other organizations were out working on 10 homes in the Pineview and Lakeview neighborhoods on Saturday as part of the 26th annual National Rebuilding Day. Community cleanups also were held in both neighborhoods, as well as in Lakeview Park and Mallory Park.

The nonprofit works to ensure low income seniors in Dayton have safe homes to stay in as long as possible. On average, the nonprofit says the seniors live on less than $17,000 per year.

Watson has lived in Dayton her whole life and bought her home on Madden Hills Drive in 2007. She’s now retired and battling ovarian cancer. She has five children, 17 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Marilyn Watson with her cat, Smokey, in her bedroom. Watson lives in Madden Hills and says she has worked several times with Rebuilding Together Dayton to get needed repairs on her home. EILEEN McCLORY STAFF
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Marilyn Watson with her cat, Smokey, in her bedroom. Watson lives in Madden Hills and says she has worked several times with Rebuilding Together Dayton to get needed repairs on her home. EILEEN McCLORY STAFF

Amy Radachi, president/CEO of Rebuilding Together Dayton, said prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was important to keep seniors in their homes because that’s what many people wanted to do. Keeping people in their homes also helps to stabilize communities and neighborhoods, she said.

And now, COVID hit assisted living and nursing homes hard, Radachi said.

“So, if we can keep people in their homes, they’re safer in that regard as well,” she said.

Dennis Niemeijer works on Marilyn Watson’s front porch. Niemeijer was the house captain at Watson’s home on Saturday. The work was done through Rebuilding Together Dayton, a local nonprofit, and the house workers were from Wilcon Corporation. EILEEN McCLORY STAFF
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Dennis Niemeijer works on Marilyn Watson’s front porch. Niemeijer was the house captain at Watson’s home on Saturday. The work was done through Rebuilding Together Dayton, a local nonprofit, and the house workers were from Wilcon Corporation. EILEEN McCLORY STAFF

Radachi said many of the people they work with have home health aides or hear about the organization through community centers. Watson said she heard about the organization through the Wesley Community Center.

Watson said she loves the neighborhood her house is in and it’s important for her to stay there.

“I mind my own business, I love my neighbors, you know, we all look out for each other and stuff,” she said.

She said her kids have tried to get her to move out of state with them, but she’s refused.

“I was born in Dayton, I will die in Dayton,” she said. “And that’s why another reason why I love Rebuilding Together Dayton, because they’re trying to rebuild Dayton. I love that.”