HomeFront event benefits borough woman

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NAUGATUCK — About 30 volunteers from Saint Michael Roman Catholic Church in Beacon Falls helped a borough woman improve her home Saturday.

The workers were organized as part of the 23rd annual HomeFront Day, a civic service event held throughout Connecticut and New York. This year, about 3,000 volunteers from 78 organizations worked on 60 homes and six community centers.

Notably, the crew from “This Old House,” the PBS do-it-yourself, home repair show, worked on a home in Norwalk. This is the 13th year the cast has gotten involved.

About half of the volunteers working on Susan Gura’s home at 3 Davin Drive in Naugatuck were students trying to meet community service obligations for their high schools.

“The kids don’t realize what they’re doing at the time, but in the future, they’ll know what they did,” said Bruce Angeloszek, a member of Saint Michael who coordinated the helpers and their tasks, which included mowing, leaf-blowing, brush-clearing, mulching and gardening.

Workers also replaced a spent electrical meter, doors and a few broken stone steps leading up to Gura’s front door—“things that she can’t really do by herself,” Angeloszek said. “Why do we do it? Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Homeowners applied for help and representatives of the church interviewed candidates to select a homeowner who most needed a helping hand. Angeloszek said applicants were reviewed based on their needs and the resources available to Saint Michael.

Traditionally, the program serves elderly residents on fixed incomes, disabled residents, single-parent households, low-income families and community centers in disrepair.

Gura falls into the third category. A single mother of two college students who runs a full-time day care out of her home, she said she’s struggled to find the time or money to work on her home or pay contractors to do so.

“[The volunteers] are making it safe and beautiful for my kids,” she said, tears welling in her eyes. “I cried when I found out they’d be helping me. I did. I was overwhelmed. … This is absolutely incredible. They showed up at 7:30 a.m.; in a couple hours, they’ve done so much.”

Mithun Family Foundation, MetLife Foundation, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, People’s United Community Foundation, The Norbert H. Hardner Foundation, FactSet Research Systems, GE Asset Management, and Webster Bank sponsored the program this year.