After decades of serving others, Lyle Berg needed a little help of his own this summer.
A 20-year Navy veteran, Lyle didn’t have the means to make much-needed repairs to his West Duluth home, putting the 74-year-old’s homeowner’s insurance – and peace of mind – at risk.
Lyle has been a member of the Duluth Honor Guard for more than 10 years, and he voiced his worries to his commanding officer, John Marshall.
John made a call to the Arrowhead Builders Association (ABA), a non-profit trade group based in Hermantown, Minnesota. Within hours, ABA members had donated all of the materials needed for the project.
“The ABA had been looking for some time for a volunteer project we could sink our teeth into,” says Chris Ostrom, ABA’s membership coordinator. “When we heard that Lyle was at risk of losing his homeowner’s insurance, we decided this was the perfect project.”
On July 27, volunteers descended on Lyle’s house. Throughout the day, more than 30 people helped replace the front and back stairs, the shingles on the house and garage, and all of the siding. Duluth Stove and Fireplace’s Matt Boo donated a flag and pole for Lyle’s yard – and he served up lunches, too.
Says Chris, “Around 35 different organizations were involved with either volunteering labor or donating materials and money.”
ABA plans to organize a home-repair project for a veteran next year, too. “Eventually,” Chris adds, “we would like to see us doing many projects a year funded through donations and fundraisers.”
For his part, Lyle says he’s still stunned by the outpouring of support for him and his wife, especially the scope of the volunteers’ work.
“I didn’t know it was going to be a complete overhaul,” he says. “I was at a funeral that day. They were finishing up the back when I got home. … And they took care of everything.”