Allie Turck | Author
Elyse Johnson | Editor
After the calamity of World War II, all around the country homes were built for the veterans returning home. Small, manufactured homes made simply and affordably. They were built specifically for those returning veterans and their families. One of those veteran families was Mr. Simmons, a WWII Army Systems Mechanic, and his wife Mrs. Simmons. They bought their home in 1953 for a total of $7,750 dollars, a staggeringly low price compared to today’s housing market.
Over the years, they were able to manage the upkeep of the house and raised their family in a happy, healthy home. Sadly, things have changed, Mrs. Simmons’ daughter recalls, “After my dad died and since my Mother has gotten a lot older she hasn’t been able to keep it like they always did. My Dad wasn’t there to do a lot and my Mother couldn’t do a lot of stuff so we started having the cracks and stuff and things probably in the last ten years or so. You could really tell things needed to be done. We just tried to keep it patched and painted.”
Then their living room ceiling fell in. A couple minutes beforehand, Mrs. Simmons had been sitting on the chair right under where the ceiling fell.
“I got up out of [the living room] chair and went to the kitchen and I heard a god awful noise and [her daughter] screamed and I said ‘What in the world?’ and it was a piece of [sheetrock] that had fallen down off of the ceiling. Then [her daughter] says ‘Good thing you moved when you did!’”
After the fright from the ceiling falling in, Mrs. Simmons’ daughter as well as her daughter-in-law began searching for help. After some looking around, they found Habitat for Humanity of Greater Garland. We received an email from Mrs. Simmons’ daughter-in-law which quickly caught our attention. We gave them a call and we headed out to assess their home within two days. We were excited to meet Mrs. Simmons and her daughter, but deeply concerned for Mrs. Simmons’ safety, as we saw how extensive the damage throughout their home was. Another two foot chunk of sheetrock, heavy enough to send someone to the hospital, had nearly fallen on her the morning we came.
After speaking with Mrs. Simmons and her daughter, and thoroughly inspecting the different areas of the home, it was apparent that there was additional termite damage throughout the house.
The repairs were going to be extensive, with an already large amount of sheetrock fallen in from the ceiling; we could tell the damage spread even beyond that. While the task was daunting we were glad Mrs. Simmons and her daughters found us as we had just received a grant from the Texas Veterans Commission. The Housing 4 Texas Heroes Grant Program provides home modifications and home repair for veterans and their families. It was perfect for Mrs. Simmons.
As we had thought, the damage went further than just the ceiling. The termites had traveled from the ground up into their wall. When the wall was opened there were live termites active in their home! The window frame to the right of Mrs. Simmons’ favorite chair was severely damaged from termites and needed replacement as well. Almost half of the wood in that wall appeared nearly shredded from the years of termite damage gone untreated and unnoticed.
All Pest Solutions & Lone Star State Mitigation
After some research we contacted All Pest Solutions. Not even a week after the condition assessment, they came out to the home and confirmed the damage was from termites. They began to lay out a plan to address the infestation. All Pest Solutions helped inform us and our homeowners about termite infestations, how to spot them, and how to get rid of them.
While All Pests Solutions dealt with the termites, Lone Star State Mitigation came in to swiftly remove the damaged wood and falling sheetrock and drywall from almost the entire living room. Mrs. Simmons and her daughter were overjoyed by the care and speed with which they repaired her home.
Her daughter told us, “We stayed out there in the hotel for like 8 days.” For a large repair project, “They were great. They were so efficient in the way they handled everything. They were clean and neat and…”
Mrs. Simmons interjected, “They cleaned up their mess!”
During these difficult and stressful times, many people at high risk of being sent to the hospital because of COVID-19 have been quarantined for the sake of their health and safety. Mrs. Simmons herself told us that besides leaving for the repair, “I’ve been here in this house since January”, the very beginning of the COVID-19 crisis. Sadly, while she has been trying her hardest to keep safe from COVID-19, she was still in danger in her own home. After the repair, a weight has been lifted from both Mrs. Simmons’ and her daughter’s shoulders. We are glad Mrs. Simmons is safe and happy to age in her own home.
This was a godsend for Mother, this was wonderful being so much older and both of us being widows. We don’t have a lot of discretionary income, so it was just…I really didn’t. This was literally lifesaving, it looks very nice, but it was lifesaving too. She didn’t really have any place else to go for help.