A brightly lit and decorated VFW Post 1503 Hall on Minnieville Road was brimming with more than 200 guests on Wednesday, October 17 for Project Mend-A-House’s annual Taste of the Town celebration dinner. The dinner featured more than 30 of the area local restaurants. This year’s theme was Stepping Up to Safety. To highlight the work that the volunteer-based free home repair and home modification program provides to the community, it sponsored a Build-A-House contest. Participants designed homes out of Popsicle sticks. Community leaders picked the top three Build-A-Houses and awards were also given for the top three Fan Favorites. Among the awardees was five-year-old Sarah Tamai. Her father Kevin is a long-time volunteer for Project Mend-A-House and runs the material donation program. Sarah designed the dream office and warehouse space for the organization. Woodbridge Plumbing, Hanneman and Sons Electric, Dobbin Media and Parrish Services were recognized as steadfast partners. Patrick and Linda Wesley were named the 2012 Volunteer Couple of the Year. This is the first time in the organization’s 28 year history that a couple has received the honor. The Wesleys are long time parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Triangle. They have been involved in numerous ministries at the church including choir, teaching religious education classes to children and adults and helping those in need. Patrick is a skilled carpenter who has built a podium, baptismal font, tables and many other exquisite wooden items for the church.
Patrick learned about Project Mend-A-House through a fellow parishioner and previous Mend-A-House Volunteer of the Year, Laurie Zieszler, who encouraged him to come along on a project with her. His first project could have discouraged Patrick from continuing on as a volunteer. As Laurie says, “It was one of those homes that needed quite a bit of mending.” Patrick worked alongside Laurie, replacing a house access door and bathroom tiles.
Initially, Patrick worked on a few projects with Laurie, including many trailers. They had just completed a trailer when they heard running water. A pipe had burst under the trailer. “Don’t make me get under there!” However, they ended up spending three more hours there replacing pipes under the trailer. One of Patrick’s favorite clients was a sweet German lady, Elsa, who he worked on many projects for and in appreciation; she showered Patrick with home baked German goodies.
Once Patrick had completed “his training program,” he was on his own. That’s when Patrick’s lovely wife Linda came on board. She wanted to spend time with her husband, so she started volunteering for Project Mend-A-House. Together, Patrick and Linda Wesley became the dynamic duo handy-couple.
For nearly three years, Project Mend-A-House’s clients have benefited from Patrick and Linda’s skills and infectious joy. Together the Wesleys have donated hundreds of hours of time, expertise and skills. They have cheerfully built steps and railings; rebuilt a basement that was previously flooded; worked on A Gift for Kevin, building an accessible bathroom addition; repaired flooring; patched drywall; cleaned gutters, etc. They are very conscientious; doing everything they can to ensure the safety of their clients including adding another piece of wood on a basement handrail so the couple would have a surer step. Thanks to Patrick and Linda’s dedication, clients now live in safer homes and more independently.
Patrick also recruited two other members of his church choir, Andrew Faltum and Tom Van, to volunteer. The trio is lovingly referred to as the Two Tenors and a Bass. The trio have been heard singing and entertaining many of Mend-A-House’s clients.
Patrick and Linda’s contributions have made a significant difference in the lives of Project Mend-A-House's staff, volunteers and clients. The dynamic duo’s record of accomplishments is both impressive and life-saving to the many clients whose homes and hearts they have helped mend. They are a joy to work with, always giving, always willing to learn and they make the best of every situation, treating all with dignity and respect.
Congratulations to Patrick and Linda Wesley, Project Mend-A-House’s 2012 Volunteers of the Year! They have made a difference in our community, one home and one client at a time.
AT ANNUAL DINNER